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Kenneth Maogowan 

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Author of " The Liars," "Mrs. Dane's Defence," " The Tempter," 
" Tlie Masqueraders," " The Crusaders," " The Dancing Girl" " Judah," 
" The Middleman," " The Triumph of the Philistines," '■^Michael and 
His Lost Angel," ''The Rogue's Comedy," "The Physician," "The 
Manoeuvres of fane," " Carnac Sahib," "The Lackey's Carnival," 
" The Goal," &'c. 




Richard Clay and Sons, Limited, 
london and bungay. 

First Edition, 1899. 
Second Edition, 1901. 

Copyright, 1894, by & Co. 




Sir Richard Kato, Q.C. ^ tt l t 

Admiral The Hon. Sir Joseph [ lTd^Susan. 

Darby. ) 

James Harabin (Lady Susan's Husband). 
Fergusson Pybus. 
LuciEN Edensor. 
Mr. Jacomb. 

Lady Susan Harabin. 
Lady Darby. 
Mrs. Quesnel (Inez). 
Elaine Shrimpton. 

Act L — Drawing-room at Mr. Harabin's in Mayfair. 
(Ten months pass.) 

Act n. — Sir Richard Kato's sitting-room at the 
St. Mildred's Hotel, Westbay. 

{Fifteen months pass.) 

Act HL— At Sir Richard Kato's house in 
Harley Street. 

a 2 



Dear and Honoured Madam, 

In dedicating this little comedy to you I have no 
other object in view than that of bribing and blind- 
ing your well-known susceptibilities, and of endea- 
vouring to win over and conciliate that large body 
of English playgoers who take their opinions and 
morals ready-made from you, the august and austere 
effigy of our national taste and respectability. 

The truth is, my dear lady, I am a little fearful 
that without some such shelter as your powerful 
protection, many excellent persons may be in doubt 
as to the exact moral which this comedy sets forth ; 
or indeed may go further and doubt whether there 
is a moral in it at all ; or, dreadest and cruellest 
alternative, may actually proclaim that it is im- 
moral. The mere possibility of this latter alterna- 
tive is so painful to me, that I am obliged to recall 
a conversation which I recently overheard in a railway 

" Ah, who wrote that play ? " I heard one passenger 
inquire of another. 

"That man Henry Arthur Jones," replied his 


" I hate that fellow," said the other. " He's always 
educating the people." 

Now though I cannot honestly credit myself with 
any such unselfish motive in writing plays as my 
fellow-passenger ascribed to me, I could not help 
feeling a glow of virtuous pride when I found that 
my natural ingrained tendencies were so salutary 
and so patriotic. And if I have in any way con- 
tributed to the State Education grant, or lowered 
the School Board rate in any parish, I hope I shall 
not be deprived of the merit that attaches to 
such public benefactions merely because they have 
been quite involuntary and unsuspected on my 

Now, my dear Mrs. Grundy, I will not go so far 
as to say that I know with any degree of certainty 
what the moral of this comedy is. I will leave 
that for you and the public to discover. And I 
am very hopeful in this respect when I remember 
that one of our keenest and most analytical critics, 
in interpreting for us a recent masterpiece of the 
lobworm-symbolic school, declared that though he 
was very doubtful what the play did mean, yet 
he was quite sure that it meant a very great deal. 
And so, my dear ma'am, I will not pin myself down 
to any one, definite, precise, hard-and-fast, cut-and- 
dried moral in this comedy. Why should I ? Why 
should I needlessly limit the possible scope of its 
beneficent operation, or curb my boundless desire 
that all sorts of unexpected collateral good may 


haphazardly visit those who witness its representa- 

I know of no task wherein the generosity and the 
ingenuity of the critical playgoer may be more 
profitably employed than in finding a profound 
significance in passages where the author himself 
has never detected it; and in dragging to light 
profound moral truths from hiding-places where the 
author himself has never imagined them to be 
lurking. Therefore, my dear Mrs. Grundy, if you 
will be pleased to wink at any little outside indis- 
cretion, and if the public will set its wits to work, 
I have no doubt a very serviceable moral is to be 
extracted from this comedy. 

Look at life itself, my dear lady. The moral of 
it is not very obvious at first sight, but there must 
be a tremendous moral hidden somewhere in it. 
Nay, there must be hundreds of morals in it, and I 
am not without a suspicion that in claiming only 
one moral for this comedy I have done myself a 
very grave injustice. For all I know it may be 
teeming with morals. 

But perhaps you will say that my comedy is quite 
unlike life. I am aware that I have no warrant in 
the actual facts of the world around me for placing 
on the English stage an instance of English conju- 
gal infidelity. There is, I believe, madam, a great 
deal of this kind of immorality in France, but I am 
sure you will rejoice to hear that a very careful 
and searching inquiry has not resulted in estab- 

viii TO MRS. GRUNDY ' 

lishing any well-authenticated case in English life. 
And even had the inquiry revealed a quite opposite 
state of things, I know you will agree with me 
that it would be far better to make up our minds 
that the facts are wrong and stick to that, than 
to allow the possibility of anything hurtful to our 
continued self-esteem and self-righteousness. I am 
too sensible, madam, of the honour of belonging 
to the same nation as your own revered self to 
do anything to impair its holy self-esteem and 
worship of its own conviction that it is the most 
moral, most religious, most heaven-favoured nation 
under the sun. 

Happily, as I say, there is not the slightest ne- 
cessity for disturbing our cherished national belief 
that immorality is confined to the Continent, and 
especially to France. Let us, therefore, again thank 
Heaven that we are not as other nations are, and let 
us avoid seeing or hearing anything that may disturb 
our belief in our own moral superiority. 

So, my dear madam, I have frankly to own that 
I have not the slightest justification in fact for lay- 
ing the scene of my comedy in England, and I am 
again justly open to the charge, so often made against 
me, of beingquite false to life as my countrymen see it. 

And now, my dear lady, having endeavoured to 
win your approbation by every means in my power, 
let me again say that all I am anxious for is that you 
should not too hastily condemn the piece because 
its morality is intrinsic and not extrinsic. For I 


do Stoutly afifirm, adorable arbitress of British morals, 
that there is a profound moral somewhere in this 
piece. Only, if I dare hint so much to you, dear 
lady, it is well at times not to be too ferociously 
moral. There is a time to be ferociously moral, and 
a time to refrain. The present, my dear Mrs. 
Grundy, is an eminently suitable time to refrain. 
Let us not be always worrying books and plays 
for their morals. Let us not worry even life itself 
for too plain, or too severe a moral. Let us look 
with a wise, sane, wide-open eye upon all these 
things ; and if a moral rises naturally from them let 
us cheerfully accept it, however shocking it may 
be ; if not, let us not distress ourselves. 

If, my dear ma'am, you cannot see any moral in 
this little comedy, take it for granted there is one, 
and — go and see the play again. Go and see it, 
my dear Mrs. Grundy, until you do find a moral in 
it. And remember that it is not only trifles like this 
that are naturally repugnant to you. Remember 
how hateful to you are all the great eternal things in 
literature and art. So much so, that if our English 
Bible itself were to be now first presented to the 
British public, you would certainly start a prosecution 
against it for its indecency and its frightful poly- 
gamistic tendencies. 

Refrain, my dear lady ! Refrain ! Refrain ! And 
if you must have a moral in my comedy, suppose it 
to be this — " That as women cannot retaliate openly, 
they may retaliate secretly — and lie I " 


And a truly shocking moral it is, now we have 
got it. But oh, my dear Mrs. Grundy, Nature's 
morality is not your morality, or mine. Nature 
has ten thousand various morals, all of them as 
shocking as truth itself. The very least of them 
would fright our isle from its propriety if it were 
once guessed at. 

Refrain, my dear madam ! Refrain ! And — ex- 
cuse me — isn't that foot of yours rather too near 
that tender growing flower — I mean the English 
drama ? And your foot is so heavy ! Don't stamp 
out the little growing burst of life. Refrain, my 
dear lady ! Refrain ! Adieu ! 

Yours, with the deepest reverence for all 
things worthy of reverence, 

Henry Arthur Jones. 
August 28M, 1894. 

P. S. My comedy isn't a comedy at all. It's a 
tragedy dressed up as a comedy. 


Scene. Drawing-room at Mr. Harabin's ; an ele- 
gantly furnished room in Mayfair. At back, in 
centre, fireplace, with fire burning. To right of 
fireplace a door leading to Lady Susan's sitting- 
room. A door down stage left. 

Enter Footman left showing in Lady Darby. 

Lady Darby \a lady oj about fifty\ Where is 
Lady Susan now ? 

Footman. Upstairs in her sitting-room, my lady. 
[Indicating the door right. 
Lady D. Where is Mr. Harabin ? 
Footman. Downstairs in the Ubrary, my lady. 

Enter left Inez, a widow of about thirty. 

Lady D. \To First Footman. J Tell Lady Susan I 
wish to see her at once. 

Inez. And will you say that I am here too ? 

[Exit Footman at door right. 

Lady D. [Going affectionately to Inez, shaking 
hands very sympathetically .\ My dear Mrs. Quesnel, 
you know? 


Inez. Sue wrote me a short note saying that she 

had discovered that Mr. Harabin had and that 

she'd made up her mind to leave him. 

Lady D. Yes, that's what she wrote me. Now, 
my dear, you're her oldest friend. You'll help me 
to persuade her to— to— look over it and hush it 

Inez. Oh, certainly. It's the advice everybody 
always gives in such cases, so I suppose it must be 
right. What are the particulars ? 

Lady D. I don't know. But with a man like 
Harabin — a gentleman in every sense of the word 
— it can't be a very bad case. 

Enter Lady Susan, about twenty-seven^ door right, 
followed by the Footman, who crosses and goes 
off at door left. Lady Darby goes to Lady 
Susan very affectionately and sympathetically, 
kisses her in silence. Lady Susan, havi?tg kissed 
Lady Darby, goes to Inez, kisses her. 

Lady S. Inez ! I'm so glad you've come ! I knew 
I could rely upon you. 

Inez. Yes, dearest — naturally ! What can I do ? 

Lady S. [Taking a bundle of letters from her pocket.'] 
Read those letters. I found them in his secretaire. 
They explain it all. And then tell me if you wouldn't 
do as I'm going to do. 

Lady D. [Very sympathetically.'] My poor girl! 
My poor girl ! 


Lady S. Oh ! please don't. I'm not an object 
of pity. At least, if I am now, I won't be one very 

Lady D. What do you mean ? 

Lady S. I'm going to follow Jim's example. I'm 
going to pay him back in his own coin. 

Lady D. [Soothingly.'] Yes, dear, yes ! That's what 
we all say at first, but we don't mean it. And it can't 
be as bad as that. 

Lady S. As bad as what ? 

Lady D. Mr. Harabin may have been indis- 

Lady S. Indiscreet ! [Enraged laugh. 

Lady D. And infatuated 

Lady S. Infatuated ! [Enraged laugh. 

Lady D. And led away 

Lady S. Indiscreet ! Infatuated ! Led away ! 

Lady D. My dear, we may call it what we like, 
but men are men, and they are led away, and the rest 
of it. 

Lady S. Very well. I'm going to be indiscreet, 
and infatuated, and the rest of it. 

Lady D. My dear child, that's impossible. 

Lady S. Not at all, my dear aunt. 

[Inez gives back the letters to Lady Susan 
with a little sigh and a sympathetic look, 
and a little shake of the head. Lady 
Susan takes them. 

Lady D. My dear Sue, of course you're angry and 
upset for the moment — and quite right — quite right ! 


I don't blame you — but after all it can't be such a very 
bad case. 

Lady S. Every case is a bad case. 

Lady D. Oh no, my dear ! Some cases are much 
worse than others ; and when you come to my age 
you'll be thankful that yours is no worse than a 
respectable average case. 

Lady S. Respectable average case ! No ! that's 
just what my case shall not be. It sha'n't be average, 
and perhaps it won't be respectable. Read those 

[Giving letters to Lady Darby. Lady 
Darby takes the letters a)id reads them 

Lady S. [To Inez.] Well? 

Inez. Well, dearest, it is rather dreadful 

Lady S. Rather ? 

Inez. But look at poor dear Mrs. Barringer ! 

Lady S. [Etiraged.'] Ah ! that's it ! And in a few 
days all my friends wU be saying, " Look at poor 
dear Lady Sue ! " They sha'n't say that. They shall 
say, " Look at poor dear Jim Harabin ! " If some- 
body is to be pitied, it shall be Jim. 

Inez. But, dear, you won't do anything in a 
hurry ? 

Lady S. If I don't, I can't do anything at all. I 
can't rake it up in a year's time. 

Inez. No, but I should wait till 

Lady S. Till the next time. No ! I've made up 
my mind. I'm going back home with you now 


— that is, if you'll have me for a day or two till I can 
make my plans. 

Inez. Certainly, dearest ; you know you're wel- 

Lady S. There's a dear ! Phillips is packing my 
things. I shall be ready in an hour. 

Inez. Of course, dear, I'm delighted. But I'm 
going to Egypt in a few days. 

Lady S. Oh, that's splendid ! We can go to- 
gether, and have a good time. Ah, Inez, how 
lucky you've been ! [Inez looks surprised?^ No, I 
don't mean that, dear, but still a widow's position 
has some advantages, hasn't it ? 

Lady D. [Having read the letters, sighs very 
deeply, and shakes her head.] The old story ! The 
old story ! [Gives them back to Lady Susan. 

Lady S. [Taking letters, putting them in pocket.] 
And what would you advise me to do ? 

Lady D. I should give him a good sound talking 
to, I should make his life a misery to him for a 
fortnight; then— I should never mention the matter 

Lady S. [Enraged laugh.] Ha, ha ! Ha, ha ! 
[To Inez.] And what would you advise me to 

Inez. Well — I shouldn't nag him. I should be 
utterly broken-hearted and mutely reproachful. I 
should look more intensely interesting, and a little 
paler, and wear prettier frocks, and give him a bet- 
ter dinner each evening, and when he had begged 


forgiveness for a long while, I should find it in my 
heart to — to forgive him. 

Lady S. [Outburst of enraged laughter.'] Ah ! that's 
it ! We are such traitors to ourselves. If we could 
only bind ourselves together 

Lady D. A trades-union of our sex? My dear, 
seven-eighths of us are natural blacklegs to start 

Lady S. Yes, and that's why men are spoilt. •; It's 
our cowardice and weakness and falsehood that make 
them such brutes. 

Lady D. They are brutes ! 

Inez. Yes, but that's God's fault more than 

Lady D. I don't know whose the fault is, but 
there's no denying they are brutes. 

Inez. [Sighs.'] I'm afraid they are ; but I don't 
see what we are to do except take them as we find 
them and make the best of them. 

Snter ¥ootma.n a/inouna'ng Sir Richard Kato. Sir 
Richard Kato, a bright, shrewd mati of the 
world about fifty, enters. Exit Footman. 

Sir R. [ Very sympathetically^ My dear Sue ! 
How d'ye do. Lady Darby ? How d'ye do, Mrs. 
Quesnel ? [Shakes hands — a pause — Sir Richard 
looks keenly from one to the other?] Anything im- 
portant under discussion ? 


Lady S. You may speak out, Uncle Dick; they 
know all about it. 

Sir R. Then I'm sure they are of the same opin- 
ion that I am. 

Lady D. I've strongly advised Sue to — to make 
the best of it. 

Inez. And so have I. 
■ ' Lady S. Oh, yes ! " Patch it up ! " " Don't 
make a fuss about it ! " That's what outsiders 
always say to a woman. 

Sir R. And, my dear Sue, as outsiders see most 
of the game, you may depend, in ninety-nine cases 
out of a hundred, outsiders are right. 

[Lady Darby and Inez talk together a little 

Lady S. Ah, you've never been deceived. 

Sir R. Well, I've never been married. But I've 
had twenty-five years' practice in the Divorce Court, 
and if I'm not qualified to give advice in a matter 
of this kind, I don't know any man in England 
who is. 

Lady S. {^Impetuously.'] I don't want advice. I 
want sympathy. 

Sir R. Well, I am sure you will have the deepest 
sympathy from all 

Lady S. {Enraged.] I don't want sympathy. I 
won't have it. 

Sir R. My dear Sue, what do you want ? 

Lady S. I want somebody to show me some way 
of paying him back without — without 



Sir R. Without losing your place in society 
and your self-respect. Ah ! that's the difificulty. 
There's an immense reputation to be made as a 
moralist by any man who will show you ladies the 
way to break the seventh commandment without 
leaving any ill effects upon society. 

Lady S. Well, he'd better make haste or we shall 
find out the way ourselves. 

Sir R. [Shakes his head.'\ My dear Sue, believe 
me, what is sauce for the goose will never be sauce 
for the gander. In fact, there is no gander sauce, 
eh, Lady Darby? 

Lady D. No. If there had been, our grand- 
mothers would have found it out and left us the 
receipt for it. 

Sir R. [ Very affectionately. '\ Come, come. Sue ! 
[Putting his arm very tenderly on hers.^ Come, now ! 
Let us talk this over quite calmly and sensibly. 
[ IVith great tenderness^ 

Lady S. Oh, yes ! I know what you mean. But 
I won't listen to another word unless you promise 
you won't advise me to patch it up. 

Sir R. I promise. Now, what is the exact point 
at which we have arrived ? Where are we ? What 
were you saying when I came in ? [Looking from 
one to the other ?\ 

Lady S. I'd just said that men are brutes. 

Lady D. And I had agreed. 

Inez. And I too — with some qualifications. ' 

.Sir R. And I agree with you — without any quali- 


fications. Men are brutes. Once recognise that 
simple fact in all its bearings, and we start on a basis 
of sound philosophy. 

Lady S. I don't want any basis, or any sound 
philosophy. I want my revenge. 

Sir R. [To Lady Darby.] Leave her to me for 
a little while, and. come back again. 

Lady D. And what's to be done with Mr. Hara- 

Sir R. What can be done with him ? 

Lady D. Somebody ought to give him a good 
sound talking to. 

Sir R. Leave him to me, too. 

Lady D. [Suddenly bethinking herself.'] Good 
gracious ! 

Inez. What's the matter? 

Lady D. I was going to Waterloo to meet Sir 
Joseph when Sue's letter came, and I forgot all 
about him. His ship's just come into Portsmouth. 
I shall miss him now. [Takifig out watch.'] And I 
haven't seen the dear man for six months. 

[Exit very hurriedly. Inez is following. 

Lady S. Inez ! 

Inez. Yes, dearest. 

Lady S. I'm coming with you. 

Inez. No, dearest— I'll go and get your room 
ready, and come back in half-an-hour, and if you are 
still in the same mind 

Lady S. You'll take me with you ? 

B 2 


Inez. We'll see about it. [Exit 

Sir R. [ Very tender/y.] Come, Sue, I've only your 
welfare at heart. I've no personal interest to serve. 

Lady S. Why did you let me get married ? 

Sir R. My dear, if you remember, you were so 
anxious and so sure of happiness 

Lady S. But why didn't you tell me what mar- 
riage was? 

Sir R. My dear, in the first place you wouldn't 
have listened 

Lady S. [Con^denf/y.] Oh, yes, I should. 

Sir R. In the second place you wouldn't have 

Lady S. Oh, yes, I should — if you had painted 
marriage in its true colours. 

Sir R. It has so many true colours. 

Lady S. No, it hasn't. It's a hateful, wretched 

Sir R. Marriage is not a hateful, wretched in- 
stitution. On the contrary, after twenty-five years' 
constant practice in the Divorce Court, I am pre^ 
pared to affirm that marriage is a perfect institu- 

Lady S. What ? 

Sir R. Worked by imperfect creatures. So 

it's like a good ship manned by a mutinous crew. 

Lady S. It's men that make it what it is. 

Sir R. Yes — and women. And the result is a 
condition that varies in each case with all the vary- 


ing tastes, tempers, dispositions, infirmities, preju- 
dices, habits, etc., etc., etc., of the contracting par- 
ties. Now you yourself are a perfect woman 

Lady S. I ? perfect ? I've never pretended to 

Sir R. Well, you see, dear, that introduces one 
little kink into the working of the institution in your 
case. Still, however, as Jim Harabin is perfect 

Lady S. Jim perfect ? ! 

Sir R. You thought him perfect at the time of 
your engagement, if you remember. 

Lady S. Never ! 

Sir R. Well, you see, that introduces another little 
kink into the working of the institution in your case. 
So you saw his faults? 

Lady S. Always — heaps of faults. 

Sir R. Then, my dear, if that didn't stop you 
from marrying him, do you think it would have 
stopped you if I had hinted at, or even described, 
certain other faults ? No ; you would have been 
Shocked and grieved. He would have promised 
amendment. And in the end you would have for- 
given him. And at this precise moment we should 
be at the very precise point at which we have now 

Lady S. Oh no ! I shouldn't have forgiven 

Sir R. Then, my dear, you'd have been on the 
high way to be an old maid, and at this precise 
moment you would have been raiUng at me for 


having spoilt your chances. And that reminds me, 
while you're blaming me for letting you marry, 
Elaine is blaming me for trying to stop her from 
thro^i^ing herself away on this — what's the fool's 
name ? — Fergusson Pybus. 

Lady S. She's written to him to come to see you 
at once. 

Sir R. What for ? 

Lady S. She knows there has been a misunder- 
standing between Jim and me, and she knows that 
I am leaving the house. When I've gone, of course 
I can't chaperon her any longer. 

Sir R. And so you intend to throw her bacjc on 
my hands. {Perplexed?^ Now, my dear Sue, do be 
a sensible girl, and — and 

Lady S. No. You promised me you wouldn't 
advise me to patch it up. 

Sir R. Well, will you listen to what Jim has to 

Lady S. I have. It's no use. 

Sir R. Have you thoroughly rowed him ? 

Lady S. Not so much as he deserves. 

Sir R. No — no — but still considerably, eh ? And 
he's thoroughly ashamed of himself? 

Lady S. Not so much as he ought to be. 

Sir R. No — no — but still considerably, eh ? Well 
now \Making a dart at the bell-handle and pulling zV.] 
— we'll have him up. 

Lady S. [Very decidedly.'] No. I won't meet him. 

Sir R. My dear Sue, if you're going to leave him, 


don't give him a chance to say that you didn't 
thoroughly explain your reasons for taking the 
step. [Footman appears at door ieftl] Will you 
tell Mr. Harabin I should like to see him for a 
minute ? [Exit Footman. 

Lady S.> It's no use — [Going off?\ 

Sir R. [Going to door left, stopping /ler.] My dear 
Sue, let's hear what the accused has to say. 

Lady S. I have heard. 

Sir R. Well, perhaps there is something else. 

Lady S. Yes ; he has thought of some fresh 

Sir R. Perhaps he's more sorry and ashamed. 

Lady S. Well, what then ? 

Sir R. Then you'll forgive him. [Lady Susan 
shakes her head.^ It will come to that at the last, 
my dear Sue. Why not spare yourself and all of us 
no end of trouble and anxiety, and forgive him at 

Lady S. No ! Not till I have something to be 
forgiven on my side. 

[Sir Richard shrugs his shoulders. 

Enter James Harabin, an average English gentle- 
man about forty, a little inclined to stoutness. 
He comes in hesitatingly, evidently very uncom- 
fortable and ashamed, his eyes averted. 

Sir R. [The moment he has entered begins very 
sternly?^ Now, Harabin, this is really disgraceful. 
I haven't words to characterise your conduct. Sue 


has my countenance in all she is^saying and doing. 
Frankly, I don't counsel her to forgive you, and 
you'll be very lucky indeed if you can persuade her. 
Now what have you got to say for yourself? At 
least, don't try to excuse yourself. The only thing 
to do is to throw yourself on her mercy, and if she 
does forgive you, it's a thousand times more than 
you deserve. And let me tell you it's only one 
woman in a thousand who would be magnanimous 
enough to do it. Now ! 

Har. [Very lamely and hesitatingly. '\ I know I've 
behaved in a very foolish and blackguardly way 

Sir R. You have. Go on. 

Har. \_Same distressed, uncoinfortable manner!\ 
And Fm very sorry now — that 

Lady S. Now that you're found out. Yes, that 
is a pity. 

Sir R. [Same stern, sharp tone.'\ But are you 
genuinely sorry — deeply, sincerely, truly, lastingly, 
penitent ? 

Har. I am indeed. 

Lady S. Of course. But can he give me any 
reason for his conduct — one single little reason ? 

Sir R. No, he can't. Fm sure he can't. 

Lady S. Then I don't see any reason that I 
should look over it. [Going off left. Sir Richard 
gets towards the door and stops her.] 

Sir R. [To James Harabin very sternly.] Can 
you give one single little reason for your conduct? 

Lady S. Is my company unpleasant? Is my 


temper bad? Has he found me flirting with any- 
body ? Have I given him his dinners badly cooked ? 
He must surely be able to give some shadow of a 

Sir R. Come, sir, you must surely be able to give 
some shadow of a reason. 

Har. {Fumbling, uncomfortable?^ I must own, Sir 
Richard, that I can't. 

Sir R. I thought not. I'm glad you have the 
grace to own that. 

Lady S. What, no reason ? 

Har. Except [Turns to Sir Richard.] — Well, 
Kato, you'd find it out if you were married your- 

Sir R. Stick to the point. I'm not married. Find 
out what ? 

Har. Well^rmarried life, even with the' best and 
sweetest of wives, does grow confoundedly unromantic 
at times. 

Lady S. [ With a peal of ironic laughter.'] Un- 
romantic ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! If it comes to romance, I 
think I'm rather a more romantic person to live with 
than you. Unromantic ! Married life isn't very 
romantic with you, Jim. 

Sir R. Married life isn't very romantic anywhere, 
with anybody, and it ought not to be. When it 
is, it gets into the Divorce Court. You ought 
to have finished with romance long ago, both of 

Lady S. Jim is twelve years older than I am, so 


if he hasn't finished with it, I'm twelve years to 
the good yet. Unromantic ! Don't you think that 
married life grows unromantic for women ? Don't 
you think we want our little romance as well as you ? 
Unromantic ! Ha ! ha ! [She is going off again, Sir 
Richard again stops her?\ 

Sir R. \Stoppi7ig her and turning sternly to James 
Harabin.] There, Harabin, you see what your 
conduct has done ! See the extremities to which 
you are driving the best of wives. The unwomanly, 
unfeminine attitude you have forced her to take 

Lady S. Unwomanly ! Unfeminine ! 

Sir R. {Soothingly^ Yes, my dear, but it isn't your 
fault. Your language and behaviour are quite natural 
under the circumstances. {Very sternly turning to 
James Harabin.] Harabin ! why don't you do some- 
thing to repair your fault ? 

Har. {Satne lame uncomfortable manner^ I've 
offered to take the villa at Cannes she liked last 

Lady S. Ha ! {Contemptuously^ 

Har. And I have asked her to go to Hunt and 
Roskell's and choose something. I don't mind what 
I do to show my regret. 

Sir R. Well, that's something. If I were Sue, I 
should accept the villa at Cannes and a diamond 
ring and bracelet from Hunt and Roskell's ; not in 
the least as any reparation of your fault — nothing 
can repair that — but as a sign of belief in the 


genuineness of your — your remorse. What else can 
you do ? 

Har. Anything that you can suggest. 

Sir R. You have of course absolutely broken 
off ? 

Har. Absolutely. I have given Sue assurances 
and proofs of that. 

Sir R. And you promise that nothing shall ever 
induce you to renew the acquaintance ? 

Har. I promise. 

Sir R. You hear, Sue ? 

Lady S. Oh, yes. Of course. But will he 
promise that nothing of this kind shall ever happen 
again ? \Lookuig at James Harabin. 

Har. Yes, certainly. 

Lady S. Will you give me your word of honour as 
a gentleman that it shall never happen again ? Your 
sacred word— Uncle Dick, listen to this ! — now, sir, 
your sacred word of honour, your parole. 

[James Harabin is about to promise, then 
checks himself. 

Lady S. [Fiercely?^ Ha! \To Sir Richard.] 
There ! You see ! I knew ! He promises it shall 
never happen again — until the next time. \To 
James Harabin.] You needn't give your promise — 
I'll save you the trouble of breaking it. 

\Exit fiercely left. 
James Harabin and Sir Richard stand 
and look at each other notiplussed for some 
moments without speaking. 


Sir R. I gave it you hot, Jim, but, upon my 
word, you deserve it. 

Har. I know I do. 

Sir R. Why didn't you make haste and give your 
word of honour it shouldn't happen again ? 

Har. So I should in another moment. But hang 
it all, Kato, I didn't like to pledge myself irrevoca- 
bly — in case, you know 

Sir R. But don't you mean it never to happen 
again ? 

Har. Yes, of course. But, after giving my word 
of honour as a gentleman, I should have felt so 
jolly uncomfortable if it had. I say, Kato, what 
can I do ? 

Sir R. I don't know. I've done all I can to bring 
her round. 

Elder Footman, left, announcing Sir Joseph Darby. 

\Enter Admiral Sir Joseph Darby, a jovial 
English gentleman of about sixty. Exit Foot- 

Admiral. {Very cordially^ My dear Jim — 
\_Shakes hands.'] Sir Richard. Is Lady Darby 
here ? 

Sir R. She left a little while ago to meet you at 

Admiral. I've been home, and they told me she'd 
come here. I haven't seen her for six months, bless 
her heart ! Well, I'll be oif back. [Going. 


Sir R. You'd better wait. She's coming back 

Admiral. Coming back here ? 

Sir R. Yes. The fact is, we've had a Uttle — 
matrimonial upset. [Fause. 

Admiral. What's the matter, eh, Jim ? 

Har. Lady Susan and I 

Admiral. That's bad ! That's very bad ! You've 
been married six years. There never ought to be any 
quarrels after the first year. 

Sir R. Or even then. 

Admiral. Oh, yes. I allow every married couple 
twelve months for what I call the shaking-down 
process ; that is, to learn each other's tempers, to 
learn the give and take of married life. In all well- 
regulated households, for the woman to learn that 
she has got a master. In all ill-regulated house- 
holds, for the man to learn that he has got a mas- 
ter. The first year of our married life Lady Darby 
and I lived a thorough cat and dog life. [A roar 
of reminiscent laughter.^ We had a battle royal, I 
assure you, every day of our life. Ho ! Ho ! Ho ! 
But we shook down comfortably after that — God 
bless her ! God bless her ! You're sure she's coming 
back here ? 

Sir R. Oh, yes. 

Admiral. \Turning to James Harabin.] Now, 
Jim, how is it the shaking-down process isn't com- 
plete in your case ? What is it ? Extravagance ? 


debts ? incompatibility of temper ? jealousy ? She's 
jealous, eh ? 

Har. Worse, I'm afraid, Sir Joseph, and — I regret 
to say I've given her only too much cause. 

Admiral. That's awkward, that's very awkward. 
So she's found you out. Well, then, you must own 
up like a man. And, above all, mind your p's and 
q's till things have shaken down again. 

Har. But she won't let things shake down. 

Admiral. Oh, yes, she will. That's what it 
always comes to. Women are noble creatures — 
bless 'em ! bless 'em ! My wife, now — I've been a 
sad rascal, Jim — I won't mince matters — I've been 
a thorough out and out rascal. [^Miich affected^ I 
can't forgive myself. But she's forgiven me. 
Ah ! what angels women are ! Yes, she's forgiven 
me freely ! \Slight pause l\ I haven't told her all. 
But she's forgiven me freely what I have told her. 
So I thought I wouldn't grieve her by telling her 
any more. \Sits in his chair and ponders his past 
transgressions much affected.'\ 

Enter Footman. 

Footman. \To Sir Richard.] I beg pardon. Sir 
Richard, Mr. Fergusson Pybus is below and would 
like to speak to you. 

Sir R. Jim, here is this creature that is running 
after Elaine. Can I see him here for a few mo- 
ments ? 


Har. Certainly. [To Footman.] Show Mr. Pybus 
up. [ExiV Footman. 

Sir R. I've done my best to break off the match, 
but Elaine seems determined to have him. Why I 
should saddle myself with another ward when I'd 
already got Sue to look after, is a mystery to me. 

Enter Footman announcing Mr. Fergusson Pybus. 

Enter Fergusson Pybus, a lank, dreamy young 
man of twenty-five, with longish light hair, afid 
precise, nervous, and rather affected manner. 
Exit Footman. 

Pybus. How d'ye do. Sir Richard ? [Sir Richard 
gives a curt nod in return. Pybus bows to Admiral, 
who is seated in gloomy reflection on his past trans- 
gressio7is, and takes no notice. Goes very sympathetically 
with timid, ingratiating manner to James Harabin.] 
My dear Harabin, \Takes James Harabin's hand, 
holds it between both of his for a moment with an ex- 
pression of the deepest sympathy^ You have my 
deepest, my most heartfelt sympathy. 

Har. {Gruffly?^ What for? 

Pybus. Miss Shrimpton has acquainted me with 
the regrettable fact that there is a serious misun- 
derstanding between you and Lady Susan. [James 
Harabin roughly withdraws his hand?\ I trust I am 
not indiscreet. \To Admiral.] Sir Joseph Darby, 
I believe. [Admiral bows?\ Then I'm speaking 


en famille. My dear Harabin, I can't say how much 
I regret this. I do not seek to know the nature of 
this misunderstanding — I do not ask who is to blame. 
There is to me in all matrimonial disagreements such 
a want of— of symmetry, a want of — a — proportion — 
of harmony — a want of beauty, so to speak. It affects 
me like a wrong note in music, like a — {Descriptive 
gesture'\ like a faulty dash of colour in a picture— it 
distresses me. 

Sir R. Does it ? 

Pybus. Woman is to me [Admiral begins to 
listen'] something so priceless, so perfect, so rare, so 
intolerably superior in every way to man, that I 
instinctively fall upon my knees before her. 

Admiral. [In a tone of contemptuous inquiry.'] 
Are you married, sir ? 

Pybus. [Undecidedly.] No— no— not at present. 
Now, my dear Harabin, may I offer my services as 
a— what shall I say? — ambassador between you and 
Lady Susan ? 

Har. Thank you, that's not necessary. 

Pybus. I'm delighted to hear it. But I do im- 
plore you to lose no time in placing yourself in the 
most abject position before your offended deity. 
[James Harabin looks at Pybus with rather angry 
impatience, turns his back on him and goes 2ip stage. 
Following James Harabin «/.] Pardon me, I have 
never disguised from you or Sir Richard [Turning 
to Sir Richard] that it is only by the constant 
companionship and influence of Miss Shrimpton in 


the tenderest union that I can hope to gain that 
power over myself, that ascendency over my fel- 
lows, that — that divine afflatus which — which will, 
I trust, enable me to — a — to — stamp myself upon 
the age. 

Har. Sir Richard is Miss Shrimpton's guardian. 
I'll leave you to speak to him. \_Goes over to Sir 
Richard. In a low tone.] What can I do about 

Sir R. Try another coax. 

Admiral. \PuUing out his watch.] Are you sure. 
Sir Richard, that Lady Darby is coming back here ? 
Sir R. Oh, yes. Go up with Jim and see Sue, 
and get her to listen to reason. 

Har. Yes, Sir Joseph, perhaps she'll listen to 

Admiral. I can't think what's coming over 
women. They never used to make this fuss. I 
never had any nonsense of this sort with Lady 
Darby. She used to make things very uncomfort- 
able for about a fortnight, and then she dropped it. 
Ah ! what an angel my wife is ! 

\_Exeunt James Harabin and the Admiral. 
Pybus. [^To Sir Richard.] I cannot tell you 
how an affair of this kind distresses me. It seems 
to me so strange, so extraordinary, so impossible, 
that a man and a lady, united in the tenderest 
bonds, with every inducement to make each other 
supremely happy ; with nothing to offer but worship 
and reverence on the man's side, nothing but cour- 



tesy and divine condescension on the lady's side, 
it seems so strange that two such beings should 
bicker and wrangle and bring discord into the har- 
mony of life. Why should they do it ? Why 
should they do it ? 

Sir R. Ah ! why should they ? 

Pybus. Sir Richard, I have already approached you 
with regard to — to — her 

Sir R. [Jiings de//.] Let me see, what is your 
exact position ? 

Pybus. I have now been her humble suitor for 
more than six months. 

Sir R. Yes, I know. But your pecuniary posi- 

Pybus. My father left me a modest annual income 
in consols. 

Footman appears at door left. 

Sir R. Will you ask Miss Shrimpton to come here 
for a few moments ? \Exit Footman.] What is the 
amount of this modest annual income ? 

Pybus. It is not so much the exact amount of 
my income as the fact that with — with her to in- 
spire me, I feel I shall be able to — a — in some way 
— stamp myself upon the age. 

Sir R. And is that likely to be very lucrative ? 

Pybus. What? 

Sir R. Stamping yourself upon the age. What's 
it likely to bring in ? 

Pybus. \Undecidedly?^ Well — of course — that 


would depend upon the way in which I — a — stamp 
myself upon the age. 

Sir R. Just so. It seems a trifle problematic. 
So I'm afraid we must come back to the precise 
amount of this modest annual income. How 

Pybus. Well — a — it is a capitalised sum of — a — 
ten thousand pounds. 

Sir R. Bringing in an annual income of two 
hundred and seventy-five pounds. Miss Shrimpton's 
fortune is — perhaps you know the amount ? 

Pybus. I do not seek to know. There is some- 
thing inexpressibly repulsive to me in the bare idea 
of receiving money with Elaine. It seems like a 
crime. I want my wife to be a fairy creature, in- 
cessantly, perpetually, a fairy creature. 

Sir R. [Dryly.] Ah ! 

Pybus. I should wish her to come to me penni- 
less, shoeless, without even rags 

Enter Elaine Shrimpton, a raw, self-assertive 
modern young lady, with brusque and decided 
manner. Pybus assujnes an attitude of devotion, 
props his head upon his hand, sighs, afid worships 
her from afar. 

Elaine. How d'ye do, Sir Richard ? Fergusson 
has told you of our decision ? 

[Looking inquiringly at Pybus. 
Pybus. [Nervously.] I have hinted to Sir Richard 

that [Leaves off nervously. 

c 2 


Elaine. In a few months I shall be twenty-one. 
I find I cannot stay any longer with Lady Susan, so 
I wish to know definitely if you will give your consent 
to our immediate marriage. 

Pybus. [Same nervous, timid, deprecating manner.^ 
Of course — we should wish to be guided by your 
advice, Sir Richard— that is — if 

Sir R. That is, if my advice concides with your 
own wishes. 

PvBus. Yes ; and even if it did not, we should at 
least — a — a 

Sir R. You would at least listen to it. Thank 

Elaine. [ Very decidedly.^ At the same time we 
feel that we have duties and responsibilities that 
we shall allow no worm-eaten conventionalities of 
society to interfere with. 

Pybus. I feel that it is only by the — a — the — a 
— constant stimulus and charm of her presence that 
I can — a — [Musingly, looking at her devotedly ?\ Ye — 
es — Ye — es 

Elaine. Fergusson has a career before him ; I, 
too, have a career before me. Why should we 
blind our eyes to the plainest and most sacred 
duties that lie before us — our duties to ourselves ? 

Sir R. [Trying to get a word in.^ Well — I 

Elaine. [Stopping kim.] Why should we check 
the natural, self-ordained, self-consecrated develop- 
ment of our characters ? 

Sir R. Well 


Elaine. Why should we dwarf and stunt our- 
selves physically, morally, intellectually, for the 
sake of propping up a society that is decrepit and 
moribund to its core ? Why should we ? 

Sir R. I wouldn't if I were you. 

Pybus. I trust you don't think. Sir Richard, that 
we are taking up this attitude in any disrespect to 
you as Elaine's guardian. 

Sir R. No, but 

Elaine. [Stopping Aim.] We have thoroughly 
sifted the matter, and we are prepared to argue it 
out point by point, and step by step, from begin- 
ning to end, if you wish to discuss it. 

Sir R. Not at all, thank you. 

Elaine. Then, as you have nothing to say 

Sir R. Excuse me, as I'm your guardian, and 
as I have the command of your fortune until 
you're twenty-five, I have just a word or two to 

Elaine. [Jiesigns herself in a bored attihidei\ 

Sir R. In the first place I should advise you not 
to marry. [Elaine suddenly turns roicnd on hini.^ 
At least, not at present. 

Elaine. I thought we had already dismissed 
that point as settled, eh, Fergusson ? 

Pybus. Ye — es — I really thought — I assure you, 
Sir Richard, we value your advice immensely, im- 
mensely — but 

Sir R. But you won't take it. Very well, we'll 


consider that point settled. You marry as soon as 
Elaine's twenty-one. 

Pybus. And I assure you when we find ourselves 
in any difficulty we shall always come to you, 
sha'n't we, Elaine ? 

Elaine. We are scarcely likely to find ourselves 
in any difficulty where our own good sense will not 
be an ample guide. 

PvBUS. No, no ! but if we do we'll come to you, 
Sir Richard. 

Sir R. Thank you. Well, we'll consider you 
married. Mr. Pybus, you have an annual income 
of two hundred and seventy-five pounds. I shall 
allow Elaine precisely the same sum annually until 
she is twenty-five. 

Elaine. What ? You will hold back my money ! 
It's cowardly ! But so like a man ! Brute force ! 
— brute force ! — never anything but brute force ! 
Never any other argument ! 

Sir R. My dear Elaine, an allowance of two 
hundred and seventy-five pounds a year 

Elaine. \ Taking him up quickly. \ Is at bottom, 
when you analyse it, nothing more or less than an 
exhibition of brute force. What else is it ? — 
Analyse it. 

Sir R. [ Very ca/m.] Thank you, no ! We'll 
adopt the synthetic method, and call it brute force. 
Well, that point's settled. I think that's all. I 
had a little advice to bestow. 

Elaine. Advice ? Well, go on. 


Sir R. On second thoughts I really feel I'm taking 
a mean advantage of my age and experience. 

Elaine. No — no. We'll hear what you have to 

Pybus. I assure you, Sir Richard, that although 
we haven't adopted your advice we have the highest 
opinion of it. 

Sir R. Thank you. \_They both assume a bored 
expression, half supercilious, half benevolent^ I hope 
you won't mind my telling you, Mr. Pybus, that 
Elaine is a rather ignorant, impulsive girl, with a 
smattering of pseudo-scientific knowledge, chiefly 
picked up from unwholesome feminine novels. 
[Elaine looks defiant. Pybus coughs, a bored, dis- 
tressed, supercilious, remonstrative cough. Sir Rich- 
ard, takitig no notice, continues^ If you want to be 
happy with her, you'll put her with some good 
housewife for a few months \ where she will gain 
some rudimentary knowledge of housekeeping, and 
learn those little arts which are necessary to make 
a home comfortable on an income of five hundred 
and fifty pounds a year. A few cooking lessons 
might not be out of place. [Elaine throws up her 
arms with a gesture of contemptuous despair at Sir 
Richard's stupidity. Pybus exchanges gla?ices with 
her, and coughs arid fidgets. Sir Richard, taking 
no notice, continues.^ And I hope you won't mind 
my telling you, Elaine, that Mr. Pybus, although 

doubtless a very clever and talented man 

[Pybus coughs his cough. 


Elaine. Fergusson is a genius, if ever there was a 
genius on this earth ! 

Sir R. [Same calm lone.] I've no doubt ! I've 
no doubt ! And I'm sure he will stamp himself 
upon the age in some highly interesting and origi- 
nal way. [Pybus coughs again.] I should advise 
him to choose the most lucrative, and stick to 

[PvBUS again coughs ivlth more pity and 

Elaine. Have you anything more to say ? 

Sir R. So much for you individually. For the 
pair of you, as a mere matter of duty, and quite 
in a perfunctory way, without expecting you to 
pay the least attention to what I am saying, let 
me assure you that you'll find marriage a very 
trying and difficult position, full of cares and 
anxieties, that this romantic attachment of yours 
will probably wear away before long — [Incredulous 
protestation oti the part of both.] And then you 
will have to face the coarse and brutal bread and 
cheese realities of life. You'll find that you have 
tempers to train and subdue, whims and obstinacies 
of your own to check, whims and obstinacies of 
your partner to indulge. There will be the need 
of daily, hourly, forbearance and kindliness, a con- 
stant overlooking of each other's faults and imper- 
fections. And if towards the close of your married 
life you can look back upon it, not indeed without 
regrets, but without remorse, and on the whole with 


pleasure and thankfulness, it will only be because you 
have shut your eyes to much, forgiven much, and 
utterly forgotten a good deal more. 

Elaine. Sir Richard, you're talking about what 
you have absolutely no experience of. 

Sir R. [Rather angrily.^ No experience ? 

Elaine. You have never been married. [Sir 
Richard ?nakes an impatient gesture.^ And why do 
you advise us ? 

Sir R. [Hurriedly.l I don't ! I don't ! Kindly 
let me know when you have fixed the date of your 
marriage, and if I can be of the least use in any 
possible way, pray command me. 


Elaine. [Looking after him.^ Sir Richard grows 
more brutally cynical every day. And to refuse 
me my money ! 

Pybus. My dear Elaine, let us at the very outset 
of our married life make it a rule to avoid all that 
is mean and petty and commonplace in life. What 
I want you to do, my dearest, is to surround me 
with — [Descriptive gesture.'] — with all that is sweet 
and dainty and graceful and beautiful. Do you 
understand, my darling? 

Elaine. [Dubiously.] Ye — es. 

Pybus. To create a lovely lonely world for me 
to dwell in, so that I may be able to bring all my 
powers to their full fruition. Do you see, my 
dearest ? 


Elaine. Yes, dearest. We will help each other. 
I feel, too, that I have a message for this age. 

Pybus. Ye — es. Ye — es. Still, I think, darling, 
it would be more profitable — I don't use the word 
in a pecuniary sense — if you were chiefly to devote 
yourself to — as I say — {Descriptive gesture?^ — as it 
were — do you see, dear ? 

Elaine. Oh, yes. But still, of course, I shall be 
free to develop my own character. 

Pybus. Of course, dearest, of course. Still, I 

Admiral enters right, very excited, and hurriedly. 

Admiral. Excuse me, I've just seen Lady Darby 
drive up in a cab. 

Enter Footman showing in Lady Darby left. 
Exit Footman. 

Admiral. My dear girl 

{Embracing her very effusively. 

Lady D. My dear Jo 

[Pybus coughs and seems uncomfortable. 
Admiral. \Glancing at him and speaking very 
sternly.] I have not seen Lady Darby for some 
months, sir. \ Takes Lady Darby up stage. 

Pybus. [To Elaine.] Come, dearest, we will go 
into the morning room. I do not like these coarse 
manifestations of affection. 

[Exeunt Pybus and Elaine. 


Admiral. My darling girl, [Looks at her with 
great admiration.'] how well you're looking ! Upon 
my word, Victoria, you're worth forty bread-and- 
butter misses ! You are ! Now, come, sit down, my 
dear ; tell me all the news. 

Enter Footman showing in Inez. Admiral shows 
great impatietice. 

Inez. How d'ye do, Sir Joseph ? 
Admiral. How d'ye do ? 

\Beckons Lady Darby to get her away. 

Re-enter Sir Richard right, very downcast. 

Inez. Well, Sir Richard ? 

Sir R. \Shakes his head.] Sue is determined to 
leave him. 

Inez. What's to be done ? 

Sir R. Nothing, except give her her head till she 
comes round. 

Lady D. We must keep people from knowing it ; 
and, above all, we must keep it out of the papers. 
What can we do ? 

\_Sits down and begins to write hurriedly. 

Sir R. Mrs. Quesnel, since there's no help for it, 
will you take care of her for a few weeks, and bring 
her round to a sensible frame of mind ? 

Inez. Of course, anything that I can do 


Re-enter Lady Susan, apparently in very bright 
spirits, dressed as for a journey, followed by 
Maid with parcels and bandboxes. 

Lady S. Now, Inez, I'm ready. Is your carriage 
outside ? 

Inez. [Doubtfully?^ Ye — es, but 

Lady S. \To Maid.] Phillips, put them in Mrs. 
Quesnel's carriage, and come back and bring the 
rest of my luggage. 

\Exit Maid left, with bandboxes and parcels, 

Lady S. Good-bye, Uncle Jo ! [Kissitig the Ad- 
miral.] Good-bye, Uncle Dick ! [Kissing him.'] 
Good-bye, auntie ! 

Lady D. You foolish woman ! 

Lady S. What are you writing ? 

Lady D. [Reads.] " Lady Susan Harabin, whose 
health has been in a very delicate state for some time 
past, has left for Egypt with Mrs. Quesnel." 

James Harabin enters, looking half wretched and 
half defiant. 

Lady D. [Continuing to read.] " Mr. James Har- 
abin has gone to Yorkshire for a few weeks' shooting 
before rejoining Lady Susan." 

Lady S. [Shrugs her shoulders.] I've said good- 
bye to everybody, haven't I ? 

Har. [Sternly. ]You have not said good-bye to me, 


Lady S. [ With great politeness P\ Good-bye, my dear 
sir. Come, Inez. 

[Inez a little protests. Lady Susan gently 
pushes her off left, is going after her. 
Har. \Trying to assume a tone of stern authority?^ 
Where are you going, madam ? 

Lady S. \Same tone of extretnely calm politeness^ I 

am going to find a little romance, and introduce it 

into our married life. \(^oing off. 

Har. [Loud, angry.] I forbid you, madam ! I 

forbid you. 

[Lady Susan, in the most graceful, calm, 
and polite way, snaps her fingers three 
times at hitn, each time with a larger 
action, then backs out door left, bowing 
profoundly and politely to him. James 
Harabin makes an angry dash after 
her, realises he is powerless, stops, stands 
in a state of helpless, pathetic bewilder- 
ment for a few moments, then turns 
and appeals in 4urn for sympathy to 
Lady Darby, who slowly and sympa- 
thetically shakes her head a?id sighs deeply ; 
to the Admiral, who purses his lips and 
pulls a long face ; to Sir Richard, who 
shrugs his shoulders. James Harabin 
stands helpless. 

A very slow curtain. 
(Ten months pass between Acts i and 2). 



Scene. Sir Richard Kato's sitting-room at the 
St. Mildred^s Hotel, Westbay, a comfortable 
room in a good-class seaside hotel. A door right. 
A large window, left, opening upon balcony and 
giving exit to gardens. Discover Sir Richard 
writing at table. 

Enter Waiter, showing in Inez. Exit Waiter. 

Sir Richard. [Rising, shaking hands very cordially.'] 
My dear Mrs. Quesnel ! 

Inez. What has brought you to Westbay, Sir 
Richard ? 

Sir R. An appeal from Elaine, who seems to have 
made a bad start in matrimony 

Inez. Oh yes, she and Mr. Pybus are down here in 
separate apartments 

Sir R. My wish to see my young friend Lucien, 
my wish to see Sue, my wish to see you, — first of all, 
how is Sue ? 

Inez. In the rudest health. We've had a glorious 

Sir R. You've been away from England ten 
months. Weren't you and Sue getting a little home- 
sick, eh? 

Inez. [Meditating.] N— o, n— o. I don't think so. 


Sir R. I'm sorry. Tell me everything about Sue. 

Inez. I've told you everything in my letters. 

Sir R. Yes, but what are her feelings towards 
her husband ? 

Inez. I haven't the key of her heart. 

Sir R. But so far as you can judge ? 

Inez. So far as I can judge, Sue is in a state of 
the most perfect indifference towards every man 
alive. But that is the attitude which you men force 
us to assume to you, to ourselves, to everybody except 
the one man alive. 

Sir R. But there is no one-man-alive in Sue's 

Inez. Not that I know of. But don't trust either 
my eyesight or my penetration, because 

Sir R. Because? 

Inez. Because if I were in Sue's place I should 
take good care that nobody knew. And I credit 
Sue with the common or garden powers of decep- 
tion. [Sir Richard walks about, a little perplexed 
and uncomfortable. 

Inez. It's charming of me to give away my sex 
to you like this, isn't it ? 

Sir R. It is. I assure you I appreciate it. After 
a lifetime's practice in the Divorce Court I still feel 
myself like Newton, a mere child on the seashore, 
with all the boundless ocean of woman's mysterious 
nature stretching silent, and innavigable, and inex- 
plorable before me. 

Inez. Perhaps the Divorce Court isn't the best 


place to learn what unsuspected depths and trea- 
sures there are in woman's nature. 

Sir R. [ Very winning and confidential.^ Well, 
now tell me — I'm only asking in the purest spirit of 
scientific inquiry — are there any depths and trea- 
sures which we mere outsiders, men, never sus- 

Inez. Shall I tell you? Yes, treasures of faith- 
fulness, treasures of devotion, of self-sacrifice, of 
courage, of comradeship, of loyalty. And above all, 
treasures of deceit, — loving honourable deceit, and 
secrecy and treachery. 

Sir R. I had already suspected there might be an 
occasional jewel of that sort in the dark, unfathomed 

Inez. You're laughing at me. You men never 
will see anything but a comedy in it. So we have 
to dress up our tragedy as a comedy just to save 
ourselves from being ridiculous and boring you. 
But we women feel it is a tragedy all the same. 

Sir R. [ With real feeling.'\ Surely you have no 
tragedy in your life ? 

Inez. I ? [LaughsJl Oh ! dear no. And you ? 

[Very searc/iingly. 

Sir R. I ? Oh ! dear no. [Pause — a shadow of 
recollection crosses his face. \ None that I cannot hide, 
or, better still, laugh at. 

Inez. Ah, that's it ! Our own hearts aren't sacred 
to us. That's our real modern tragedy — we laugh at 
the tragedy of our own lives ! 


Sir R. No, no, that's our real modern comedy and 
our truest wisdom. [Inez shakes her headJ] Yes, yes, 
believe me, it is so. We'll keep on dressing it up as 
a comedy for fear of boring people and making our- 
selves ridiculous. To come back to Sue 

Inez. Where's Mr. Harabin? 

Sir R. You'll keep my secret ? 

Inez. Honour ! 

Sir R. On his way here. 

Inez. On his way here ? 

Sir R. [iV^^i-.] Sir Joseph and Lady Darby are 
bringing him. I came last evening to reconnoitre, 
but I didn't get in till midnight. Now, can't you 
and I, like good Samaritans, pour in wine and oil 
upon the wound ? 

Inez. I'm always pouring in oil, but Sue doesn't 
seem to trouble very much about the wound. 

Sir R. You don't rub it in. Not enough elbow- 
grease, eh? 

Inez. Perhaps. It's very absurd to make a fuss 
about other people's love affairs. 

Sir R. But when a husband and wife have quar- 
relled ? 

Inez. Then it's clearly one's duty to advise them 
to make it up. And one does it, the same as one 
goes to church, because it is one's duty, not because 
there's any result from it. 

Sir R. [^Takes out watch.'\ You'd better send 
Sue to me, but don't tell her that Harabin is 



Enter Waiter. Brings card to Sir Richard. 

Sir R. Where are you staying ? 

Inez. Seven, Marine Gardens — it's just opposite. 

\Going towards window. 

Sir R. \To Waiter.] Show Mr. Edensor in. 

\Exit Waiter. 

Inez. Edensor ? There was a Mr. Edensor staying 
at the hotel at Cairo last year. 

Sir R. This is Lucien Edensor. 

Inez. It must be the same. 

Sir R. He's the son of my old friend Danby 
Edensor. His father died in India last year, and 
I've got him a government appointment in New 
Zealand. He wrote to me from Eastgate, so I 
asked him to come over and see me. Do you know 

Inez. Very slightly, only a table d'hote acquaint- 
ance. This is my nearest way. I'll send Sue to 
you. \Exit at balcony. 

Enter Waiter announcing Mr, Lucien Edensor. 

Efiter Lucien Edensor, a handsome young man about 
twenty-five. Exit Waiter. 

Sir R. \Coming down from balcony.'] Ah, my 
dear boy. \Shaking hands very warmly. 

Lucien. Sir Richard, how can I thank you ? 

Sir R. By saying nothing at all about it, and 
proving that you are the right man for the post. 


LuciEN. I shall do all I can to justify your 

Sir R. I'm sure you will. When do you start ? 

LuciEN. Next Thursday. 

Sir R. It will be a wrench to leave England for so 
many years ? 

LuciEN. I'm rather glad of it. The truth is, Sir 
Richard, I'm awfully down in the mouth. 

Sir R. What's the matter ? A woman ? [Lucien 
nods.] Poor boy ! Ah well, at your age you'll get 
over that. 

Lucien. I shall never get over it. 

Sir R. That's what we all say at twenty-five, and 
it does credit to our youthful innocence. 

Lucien. I shall never forget her. 

Sir R. No ; but you'll wonder what on earth you 
could have seen in her to rave about. 

Lucien. You don't know how I love her. 

Sir R. Yes I do, my boy. I've been twenty-five. 
I've had my illusions. At twenty-five you have the 
delight of your illusions, and you laugh at the 
fogies. But at fifty you'll have the far greater de- 
light of seeing through your illusions and laugh- 
ing at the youngsters. Take my word for it, fifty 
is the age when a healthy man begins to enjoy 

Lucien. [Biffer/y.] And when instead of loving a 
woman with all his heart he can laugh at her ! 

Sir R. No, no ! when he can love her and laugh 
at her too. When he can love 'em all very much 

D 2 


more, and when, damn 'em, they can plague him 
very much less. 

LuciEN. I shall never love but this one woman 
as long as I live. 

Sir R. So you say ! So you say ! 
LuciEN. [Rather angrily.'] You don't believe 

Sir R. My dear Lucien, I bought all there 
was of your father's very excellent Madeira. To- 
day is the fifth of September. Write to me every 
fifth of September and say, " On my honour, I love 
her still," and on my honour I'll send you half-a- 
dozen bottles of that excellent Madeira every year. 
Is it a bargain ? 

Lucien. Yes. [Shakes hands, suddenly remembers.'] 
There were only two dozen of that Madeira left ! 
It won't last out ! 

Sir R. My boy, it will last out your love. 

Lucien. Sir Richard, when you talk like that, I 
feel, in spite of all you have done for, me, I feel I — I 
almost hate you. I love her, and if my love is an 
illusion I hope I shall die in it ! 

Sir R. [ With a change in manner, very softly and 
tenderly^ You're right. [Long sigh.] Love her, my 
dear boy, love her as long as you can. 

Lucien. Do you say that. Sir Richard ? even 

Sir R. If what ? 

Lucien. If she's the wife of another man. 

Sir R. The devil ! No ! 


LuciEN. I can't help it. I must keep on loving 

Sir R. Very well then, keep on loving her. But 
pack off to New Zealand next Thursday. Now let's 
drop her. You'll want the agreement and the letter 
of instructions. They're upstairs. 

\^He is going to door when enter Waiter 

shozving in Lady Susan. Lucien 

starts a little, mmoticed by Sir Richard. 

Exit Waiter. 

? Lady S. \Begins very affectionately?^ My dear 

Uncle Dick ! \_Sees Lucien, starts rather violently. 

Sir Richard sees her confusion. Lucien, behind 

Sir Richard's back, makes her a sign of warning.'] 

You have a visitor. 

Sir R. You know Mr. Edensor ? 
Lady S. [ Who has a little recovered.] No. 
Sir R. Then let me introduce you. Mr. Lucien 
Edensor, Lady Susan Harabin. 

Lady S. I fought at first that I had met you, 


Lucien. I don't think I've had the pleasure. 

\^An awkward little pause. 
Sir R. I'll fetch those instructions, Lucien. 

\_He turns suddenly at door, sees they are 
both watching hint furtively. Exit Sir 
Richard. They watch hitn off. The 
mome?it he has left the room they turn 
to each other. 
Lady S. [Pleased, excited, frightened.] Lucien 1 


LuciEN. Lady Sue ! 

Lady S. [A /armed.] We haven't — betrayed our- 
selves ? 

LuciEN. No — I don't think so. 

Lady S. What brings you here ? Why didn't you 
let me know you were coming ? Why haven't you 
sent me a message all these months ? 

LuciEN. You said I was not to write 

Lady S. \Reproachfullyi\ And you obeyed 
me ! 

LuciEN. When my father died Sir Richard was 
such a brick to me I felt I couldn't behave like a 
blackguard and bring disgrace to his family. But 

now I've seen you again 

[ Trying to clasp her. 

Lady S. [Repulsing hifn.'] Hush ! We shall be 
heard ! What can we do ? 

LuciEN. Go back to the old sweet days of last 
year ; let it all be as it was then. That last Sunday 
at Cairo 

Lady S. [Frightened, looking round?[ Hush ! 
You're sure nobody suspected. 

LuciEN. How could they? We were always so 

Lady S. Oh, I should kill myself if any one knew ! 
You have never spoken of me — boasted to any of 
your men friends ? 

LuciEN. Lady Susan, I'm not a cad. 

Lady S. Forgive me, I know you wouldn't — and 
you never will ? 


LuciEN. Be sure you will never be [looking at her 
with great intentness] misjudged through me. 

Lady S. Thank you. No one will ever guess 

LuciEN. No one shall ever guess what — never — 

[She looks at him very gratefully and affec- 
tionately, presses his hand with great 
Lady S. Thank you ! Thank you ! Shush ! 

Enter Sir Richard with papers in his hands. 
Throughout the act his outward demeanour to 
the persons on the stage is that of great frank- 
ness and entire absence of suspicion, but when- 
ever the business of the stage allows it, he shows 
to audience that he is most keenly watching every 
word, movement, and glance of Lady Susan, 
Inez, and Lucien. 

Sir R. Lucien, my boy, you'll stay to lunch with 


Lucien. Yes. No, I don't think — at least — 
\y lances at Lady Susan.] 

Sir R. Oh, I insist. I've brought the agreement 
and instructions. You'll have time to study them 
cirefuUy on your way out to New Zealand. 

Lady S. New Zealand ? 

Lucien. I'm leaving for New Zealand next 

Lady S. For long ? 

Lucien. For some years, perhaps for life. 


Lady S. Indeed ! 

Sir R. You had better take these — 

[Is about to cross and give papers to Lucien, 
when Waiter enters, showing in Inez. 

Enter Inez. Exit Waiter. Sir Richard watches 
•very closely to see if Inez and Lucien recognise 
each other. Inez slightly bows to Lucien. 
Lucien returns it in same tmembarraised 

Sir R. [Papers still in hand, to Inez.] Didn't 
you say that Mr. Edensor was staying at your horel 
at Cairo last year ? 

Inez [Quite frankly.'] Yes. [To Lucien. j If 
you remember, we used to sit opposite to you at 
table d^hote. 

Lady S. [Suddenly, a little overdoing it.] Of 
course ! I could not imagine where I had met Mr, 
Edensor. Now I remember quite well ! 

[Sir Richard turns and looks at her. 

Lucien. [A little lamely^ Yes, but really it had 
escaped me. [Sir Richard turns and looks at him.] 

Sir R. Very natural. Well, you'll sit opposite to 
each other again at lunch with me to-day. [Giving 
papers.] Take these into the smoking-room and look 
through them. Wait for me there. 

Lucien. [Has taken papers, to Inez.] Then I 
shall meet you again at lunch. 

Sir R. Yes, you'll meet her again at lunch, 

[Exit Lucien, 


My dear Sue, welcome to England ! I'm delighted 
to see you. Quite well and happy, eh ? 

\^Looks at her. 
Lady S. Quite well, and perfectly happy. 
■ Sir R. \Between her and Inez.] That's right. 
So you didn't remember Lucien? [In a tone of 
affected carelessness, the tone of a skilful cross- 
examiner who is leading his witness unsuspectingly 


Lady S. Yes, I did, but I could not recall where 
it was I had met him. 

Sir R. \Turning to Inez.] You remembered him 
at once ? 

Inez. [Very frankly^ Oh, yes. He sat almost 
opposite to us at table d^hote for a month. Then he 
was called away suddenly to India to his father, 
who was dying. 

Lady S. Was he ? I'd forgotten. 

[Sir Richard watches the following scene 
unobtrusively, but most intently. 

Inez. My dear Sue, where is your memory? 
Nearly every one in the hotel went to see him off 
at the 

Lady S. I'm sure I didn't. 

Inez.. Everybody except you. That was the 
Monday night. And on the Sunday night, if you 

Lady S. [Very quickly and pettishly?^ My dear 
Inez, you seem strangely interested in this young 


Inez. I seem interested ! I scarcely spoke to 

Lady S. Neither did I. 

Inez. At any rate, you were at church with him 
on the Sunday night. 

Lady S. \Confused^ I'm sure I — who told you 
that ? 

Inez. You told me you were going to church on 
the Sunday evening. I stayed at home. Did you 

Lady S. \Co7ifiised?\ Did I? Let me think — 
Yes, yes, I did. 

Inez. After dinner Mr. Edensor came into the 
drawing-room. Mrs. Grantham asked him where 
he'd been. He said, "To church." She said, 
" Isn't it very late ? " He said, " The sermon was 
a very long one." You hadn't come in. I asked 
him if he had seen you at church, and he said, 
"Yes, you sat in the next pew to him." When I 
got upstairs you had just come in. I said, "You're 
very late." You said, " The sermon was a very 
long ohe," and 

Lady S. Oh, my dear Inez, it was an awful, aw- 
ful, awful sermon. It was just as boring as this 
rigmarole of yours. Now do, please, stop, and let 
us finish with this terrible young fellow. 

Inez. \A little angry ^ My dear Sue, the young 
fellow is no concern of mine. 

Lady S. And I'm sure he's none of mine. 

Inez. \A little nettled^ I didn't say he was. 


Lady S. Then why do you wish to make out that 
we went to church together? 

Inez. My dear Sue, why do you make such a fuss 
about it? 

Sir R. \Interposing, soothing them down.^ Tsch ! 
Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! My dear Mrs. Quesnel, 
you're making a mountain out of a molehill. Sue 
went to church, as I understand, this particular Sun- 
day night. Eh, Sue ? 

[Inez begins to watch very intently. 

Lady S. Yes. 

Sir R. And by the merest chance Mr. Edensor 
went to the same church ? 

Lady S. Yes. 

Sir R. You neither went with him nor came back 
with him? 

Lady S. \Hesitates a little?\ N — o. 

Sir R. But by the merest chance he happened to 
sit in the same pew with you ? 

Lady S. Yes. No. I'm not sure. I can't re- 

Inez. It was the next pew, at least so Mr. Edensor 

Lady S. Yes, the next pew. I remember now. It 
. was the next pew. \Getting more and more confused^ 
He sat on this side — no, on this — no — I — \Meets 
Sir Richard's look^ I forget, and there's an 
end of it. \Goes up to balcony ifi a teftiper, 
stands there with her back to Sir Richard and 


[Enter Waiter with cards on tray, hands them to 

Sir Richard. Sir R. takes cards, looks at 

Lady Susan, tvhose back is to him, shows them 
to Inez. 

Inez. [In a loiv voice to him.'] Mr. Harabin ! 

Sir R. [Cautiotts/y.'] Shush! don't tell her. [To 
Waiter.] I'll come and speak to them. 

[Exit Waiter. Exit Sir Richard. 

Lady S. [To Inez.] Inez, it's mean of you to 
spread such stories about me. I thought you were 
my friend. 

Inez. So I am, dearest. Sue, if you have been — 

Lady S. Foolish ? 

Inez. With this Mr. Edensor 

Lady S. [Very indignant.^ Inez! 

Inez. Dearest, I said " if." You know, dear, you 
may rely upon me. I'll say anything to help 

Lady S. [Dignified itmocent tone.] Thank you. 
If you will only say the simple truth, that will be 
quite sufficient to clear my conduct of all suspicion. 
[Suddenly eagerly.] You never saw anything to lead 
you to suppose 

Inez. No, not at the time. The idea never came 
to me till this moment. Then there was nothing 
between you, dearest ? [ Very searchingly.] 

Lady S. [Emphatically^ No, not even so much 
as an innocent flirtation. You know, Inez, if 



there were I should tell you. I tell you every- 

Inez. Do you ? 

Lady S. Yes. And you tell me everything, don't 
you, dearest? 

Inez. Yes, dearest, everything [Kisses her. 

Re-enter Sir Richard. 

Sir R. You'll stay to lunch, Sue ? I'm going to 
have quite a pleasant little party. 

Lady S. Who's coming ? 

Sir R. Isn't there one very old friend, and a dear 
good fellow, whom you would be pleased to meet 
again ? 

Lady S. My husband ! Uncle Dick, how can you 
insult me by asking me to meet my husband ? 

Sir R. My dear Sue, why shouldn't you meet your 
husband ? 

Lady S. Because — because it's impossible. 

Sir R. Why? You haven't carried out your 
threat ? 

Lady S. What threat ? 

Sir R. To introduce a little romance into your 
married life. 

Lady S. [ With the greatest indignation.^ Uncle 

Sir R. But you threatened 

Lady S. Threatened ! What else can we poor 
women do ? Oh ! and you could believe that I could 


be guilty of — \Horror-stricken?[ Oh ! oh ! Will men 
never understand a woman ? 

\Exit very indignantly at balcony. Sir 
Richard and Inez look at each other 
Inez. Our oil doesn't seem to be lubricating. 
Sir R. Mrs. Quesnel, honour — \Inez gives him her 
hand.^ Was there anything between Sue and young 
Edensor at Cairo ? 

Inez. On my honour, I believe no. 

Enter Waiter at door. 

Waiter. Mr. and Mrs. Fergusson Pybus are here 
and would like to see you, Sir Richard. 

Sir R. Show them in. And let me know when 
Sir Joseph Darby and Mr. Harabin return. 

[Exit Waiter. 
Inez. What's to be done about Sue ? 
Sir R. More oil. A constant gentle application. 
[Strokes the back of her hafid.l^ Go and soothe her 
down and bring her over to lunch if you can. 

Inez. If we don't succeed what a lot of oil we shall 
have wasted ! [Exit at balcony. 

[Sir Richard, left alone for some moments, 
ivalks up and down room very perplexed, 
indicating that he is putting together the 
links of a chain of evidejice, a?id puzzling 
them out in his own mind, walks, stops 
suddenly, slightly scratches his forehead, 


puts one forefinger on the other, puts head 
on one side, walks again, puzzles. 

Enter Waiter, announces Mr. and Mrs. Pybus. 

Enter Elaine and Pybus slowly and a little sulkily, 
as if on bad terms with each other. Exit 

Sir R. \^Cordially?\^ Well? \_Shaking hands with 
each of them^ Well? \_Looking from otie to the other.^ 
What's the matter ? Nothing serious, I hope ? 

Pybus. We told you, Sir Richard, that we should 
come to you if any difificulty arose. 

Sir R. Thank you. \_To him.'] Sit down. \^To 
her.] Sit down. 

[ They sit down one on each side of him. 
Sir R. \_GeTiially.'\ Now tell me all about it. 

\During the following scene Sir Richard 

is quietly seated between the two. He does 

not interfere i7i the least, but merely turns 

his head from one to the other as each 

begins to speak. 

Elaine. The whole thing is in a nutshell. Is 

the mistress of the house to be consulted on a 

purely domestic arrangement, or is she not ? Is 

she to be treated as a rational creature, or is she 


Pybus. My darling, I have always wished to 
treat you as something entirely sweet and perfect 
and gracious ; something sainted and apart ; but 


when you insist on getting on a chair and breaking 
the looking-glass — you do make it a little difficult, 
my darling, for me to — to — \_Descriptive gesture.^ — to 
cherish my ideal of you. 

Elaine. It was your pushing that broke the 

Pybus. My darling, I was quite gentle. I merely 
held the corner of the dressing-table in a firm position 
while you struggled. 

Elaine. Just so. You merely asserted your 
superior brute force. Brute force ! Brute force ! 
When will Woman hear any other argument from 

Pybus. My dear Elaine, I did argue with you 
for nearly three-quarters of an hour. I explained 
how impossible it is for me to — to concentrate my- 
self, to bring all my manifold powers to bear upon 
the problems of this age while you are shaking 
the washing-stand, and letting the breakfast get 
quite cold merely for the sake of indulging your 
own whims. 

Elaine. Whims? I have no whims. I have 
only convictions. 

Pybus. My dear Elaine, what is it but a whim 
when you 

Elaine. Really, Fergusson, it is impossible 

[^Rising angrily. 

Pybus. \^Also rising angrily.'] Really, my darling, 
I cannot 

Sir R. \Interposing^ soothes them down.] Tsch ! 


Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! Sit down. Sit down, both 
of you. \Motioning them into their chairs again.] 
Sit down. There is to me in all matrimonial dis- 
agreements a want of harmony, a want of beauty, so 
to speak, which I am quite sure, Mr. Pybus, must be 
as distressing to you as it is to me. 

Pybus. That is what I am always explaining to 
Elaine. We made it a rule when we were married 
to avoid all that is petty and mean and common- 
place in life. 

Sir R. [Soothingly.] An excellent rule. It ought 
to be incorporated in the marriage service {Through- 
out the scene he assumes a perfectly calm and judicial 
beari7tg?\ Well now. You were married on the 
second of February. After your honeymoon, you 
took up your residence at 

Pybus. At Clapham. 

Sir R. At Clapham. You made it a rule to 
avoid all that is mean and petty and commonplace 
in life, and you took up your residence at Clapham. 
I forget the exact address ? 

Pybus. " The Nest," Gladstone Road, Clapham. 

Sir R. " The Nest," Gladstone Road, Clapham. 

Pybus. [Plaintively.] I cannot say that Clapham 
appeals to me. 

Elaine. Clapham is intolerably suburban. The 
inhabitants of Clapham are entirely conventional 
persons. They do not live in the realm of ideas at 
all. And Fergusson will not join me in rousing 

Pybus. [Interrupting her.] My angel, I do think 



it is of more importance that you should — [Ends 
with a feeble descriptive geshtre^ 

Elaine. And I think that it is of more impor- 
tance that you should assist me in organising my 

Pybus. I cannot see, my dear 

Elaine. [Stopping him.'] No, Fergusson, you 
cannot see. That is the difficulty with men. They 
cannot see. 

Pybus. Really, my darling — [Rising again an- 

Elaine. Really 

Sir R. [Soothing them down.] Tsch ! Tsch ! 
Tsch ! Tsch ! [Gets them seated again. To Elaine.] 
What is this society you are organising ? 

Elaine. The Clapham Boadicean Society for 
the Inculcation of the New Morality among the 
Women of Clapham. 

Sir R. What is the New Morality ? Has it any- 
thing to do with the Ten Commandments ? 

Elaine. It is not based precisely upon those 
lines. [Beginning oratorical ly.] There is an immense 
future for Woman 

Sir R. [Hurriedly stopping her.] I'm sure there 
is ! I'm sure there is ! But we must not discuss 
the future of woman just now. Well now, you 
agree upon one thing. You both dislike Clap- 

Elaine. It is your unwarranted retention of my 
fortune, Sir Richard, that 


Sir R. {Interrupts^ stopping her.'] Yes, yes, — we 
must not discuss my conduct just now. 

Elaine. But it is your conduct that compels us 
to exist in a jerry-built villa, in a wretched suburb 
surrounded by suburban persons with entirely sub- 
urban ideas 

Sir R. My dear Elaine, we must not discuss 
Clapham just now. \_Takt?tg out watch.] I want to 
hear the history of this unfortunate disagreement 
between you and Mr. Pybus. 

Elaine. But it all arises from living in Clapham. 

Sir R. Oh ! I thought you said it was a purely 
domestic affair. 

Elaine. So it is. We live in Gladstone Road, 

Sir R. But how does that produce disagreements 
between you and Mr. Pybus ? 

Pybus. I am of an intensely nervous and artistic 
temperament, and I cannot shave in the morning 
unless the blind is fully drawn up so that I can per- 
ceive, with the utmost nicety, the exact position of 
any pimple — otherwise I cut myself, 

Elaine. But it is very inconvenient that the blind 
should be drawn up, because of the neighbours in the 
rooms of the opposite house. 

Pybus. I am sure Sir Richard will agree that it is 
highly desirable that the blind should be drawn up. 

Sir R. {Judicially^ It is highly desirable, Mr. 
Pybus, that you should not cut yourself while 

E 2 


Pybus. [To El awe, tn^imphantly?^ There! 

Elaine. But if the bHnd is drawn up, the people 
in the opposite house 

Sir R. It is highly desirable that the good folks 
who live in Clapham should not be shocked. 

Elaine. [Triumphantly to Pybus.] There ! And 
every morning Fergusson will insist 

Pybus. My dear, it is you who will insist. And 

Sir R. Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! 

Pybus. [Plaintively^ It affected my health so 
much I was obliged to leave Clapham. And I cannot 
consent to return to " The Nest " unless Elaine — 
[Descriptive gesture ?\ 

Elaine. Nor can I — unless 

Sir R. Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! [In a very 
calm and judicial tone.] Is there only one blind to 
this window, or is there also a small muslin blind ? 

Elaine. There is a small muslin blind. 

[Pybus nods acquiescence. 

Sir R. What is the distance from the top of the 
muslin blind to the top of the window ? 

Elaine. Four feet. 

Pybus, Three, my dear. 

Elaine. Four, 

Pybus. I'm sure, my darling 

Elaine. I measured. 

Pybus. I'm sure — my dear, if you will contra- 
4iict [Piteous ly. 

Sir R. Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! We'll have 


it measured again. [To Pybus.] The looking-glass 
is immediately under the window ? 

Pybus. [-Pa^Aetica//y.] The looking-glass is unfor- 
tunately broken. 

Sir R. Kindly replace it at my expense. [I'ro- 
ceeds judicially?^ If the roller blind were drawn 
down each morning to exactly half the distance 
between the top of the window and the top of the 
muslin blind, it would allow plenty of light for you 
to shave by, Mr. Pybus ? 

Pybus. Yes, — yes, I think so, but really I can- 

Sir R. Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! Tsch ! \Turning to 
Elaine.] And it would also protect any one inside 
the room from the observation of the neighbours 
opposite ? 

Elaine. Yes. Unless any one went near the 

Sir R. Well, now, it seems to me it would be 
convenient to every one concerned if during the 
time Mr. Pybus is shaving in the morning the roller 
blind is drawn down exactly half the distance. And 
during that time it would be convenient if you, 
Elaine, did not go within two yards of the window. 

Enter Waiter. 

Waiter. Sir Joseph Darby and Mr. Harabin are 
outside. Sir Richard. 

Sir R. Show them in. [Exit Waiter.] Now, won't 


that arrangement enable you to return in perfect 
agreement like doves to the nest ? 

Pybus. [Doubtful!] Yes, perhaps, but • 

Elaine. Well, that depends 

Sir R. Go and take a pleasant little stroll in the 
gardens, [Getting them off at window.] and arrange 
in future for the blind to be just half-way up — that is 
to say, neither up nor down ! 

[Gets them off at window. 

Enter Waiter, shelving in Admiral and Lady 

[Exit Waiter. 
Sir R. [To Admiral.] Well, how does he seem 

[Admiral shakes his head very sytnpathet- 
ically, and points to James Harabin, 
who enters very slowly, hands in pockets, 
very downcast and miserable. He 
walks desponde?ttly to armchair, drops 
into it listlessly, and stares in front oj 
him with the pathetic expression of a 
man very much ill-used by the world. 
Admiral. [Pointing to Harabin as to a martyr i] 
There ! There you see the result of all this tomfool- 
ery of woman's higher education ! There you see 
what happens when a woman takes the bit into her 
mouth. A man's peace and happiness utterly 
ruined ! 


[Harabin sits in plaintive silence, taking no 

Lady D. Quite true, Jo, but \with a severe look at 
Harabin] that does not excuse a man for forgetting 
that he has got a good wife, and 

Admiral. \Quickly^ No, my darling ; when a man 
has a good wife it's a rascally shame to forget her. 
And to think that next Saturday I shall be compelled 

to leave you for \Is ??iuch affected.^ Ah, Victoria, 

if you had only been a good sailor ! 

Lady D. I'm not so sure that we should have been 
any happier, Jo. You never seem to appreciate me 
so much as you do the week before you leave me, 
and the week after you return. 

Admiral. Well, perhaps it's best as it is, my love, 
perhaps it's best as it is ! 

Har. [Feebly, pathetically.'] Kato, I'm all to pieces. 
I couldn't eat any breakfast. 

Sir R. [Ringing bell.'] My dear Jim! What shall 
it be ? A chop, steak, bacon and eggs 

Har. [Shuddering, shakes his head piteously.'\ 
Could they manage an anchovy sandwich, and a glass 
of dry champagne ? 

Enter Waiter. 

Sir R. Anchovy sandwich, and a small bottle of 
the best dry champagne. 

Admiral. Do you know, Kato, I feel that an 
anchovy sandwich and a glass of champagne would 
just keep me going till lunch. 


Sir R. Anchovy sandwiches for two, and a large 
bottle of the best dry champagne. [Exi'f Waiter. 

Admiral. My appetite is something remarkable. 

Har. I haven't made a decent meal for months. 

Admiral. [ Very sympathetically^ again points to 
Harabin as to a ?nartyr.] Ah ! there it is, you see. 
A woman runs away from her duties. What happens? 
Everything goes to rack and ruin ! A man's meals, 
a man's health, all his little home comforts and 
luxuries completely sacrificed ! 

Har. What did Sue say about meeting me, Kato ? 

Sir R. Well, the fact is, Jim, I— I believe Mrs. 
Quesnel is talking very kindly about you. And, 
perhaps, if Lady Darby were to go over to Sue and 
help the negotiations, we might induce Sue to come 
over to lunch and make it up. 

Lady D. I'll go and see what I can do. But 
really, there is no excuse for a man 

Admiral. No, my love, none whatever ! And 
when I think [Mt(cA affected, breaks off?\ — Go and 
put it very nicely to her, dear. I'll come over as 
soon as I have had my anchovy sandwich, and we'll 
go for a nice little stroll together, shall we ? Ah ! how 
this place reminds me of old days ! \^Micch affected 

Lady D. Don't be foolish, Jo. \Exit at door. 

Admiral. \As he closes the door after her.^ There 
goes the best woman in England ! Ah, Jim, it's a 
great pity for you young men that the good old stamp 
of English girl and wife is getting extinct ! 


Enter Waiter, with a tray of ajichovy sandwiches^ 
and a bottle of champagne ; pours out three glasses. 

Admiral. What do you think of English women 
to-day, Kato ? 

Sir R. I have met with some of all sorts. 

[Admiral conies up to table, takes up a 
glass of champagne. Harabin sits and 
looks gloomily in front of him. 
Admiral. \(ilass in hand-l You've had a great 
deal of experience in the marriage question. 

Sir R. \_Taking glass.'] Outsiders' experience 
— yes. [^Exit Waiter. 

Admiral. What is to become of society — 
[Drinks.] — A very good glass of champagne, Kato ! 
What is to become of society if women insist on 
turning everything topsy-turvy, eh ? [Takes afi an- 
chovy sandwich. 

Sir R. [Drinks.] I don't know. Have a glass of 
champagne, Jim. [Giving chatnpagne to Harabin, 
who takes it moodily and gloomily, sits holding it in 
his hand without drinking. 

[During the following scene the Admiral 
helps himself very freely to cha77ipagne, 
and eats nearly all the plate of sand- 
wiches. Harabin sits very moody and 
gloomy, scarcely touches one or the other. 
Admiral. Where are we going, eh ? 

[Eats a large mouthful of anchovy sandwich. 


Sir R. Ah, just so. Take a sandwich, Jim. 

[^Giving a safidtvich to Harabin, who takes 
it, makes a face at it, and sips a little 
wine, gloomily. 

Admiral. That's what I ask myself. [Another 
mouthful.^ Where are we going ? 

Sir R. Ah ! Where are we ? Well, I can afford 
to look on with the complacent curiosity of an 
intelligent rustic who sees the coach rattling down 
the hill at a devil of a rate with runaway leaders 
and no brake. I can only mildly speculate whether 
there will be a smash-up. 

Admiral. [Very solemnly.'\ Kato, take my word 
for it, there will be a smash-up. 

Sir R. I shouldn't wonder. Of what? 

Admiral. Of the marriage coach — if we men 
don't keep a tight hold of the reins. And a devil 
of a smash-up it will be ! 

Sir R. Ah ! Thank God I'm not a passenger. 

Admiral. [Taking another sandwich.~\ Here's 
an instance of it. [Points to Harabin, who is toying 
with a sandwich and vainly trying to get a mouthful 
of it down^ Jim has his little failings. But because 
a man has his little failings, is that any reason for 
his wife running amuck amongst all the conventions 
and proprieties of social life, eh ? What's your 
opinion ? 

Sir R. I have no opinion. I take no side. I 
merely watch the game. 


Admiral. And looking round I ask myself where 
we are going, eh, Jim ? 

[Takes another sandwich. 

Har. [MoodilyP\ I know where I'm going. I'm 
going to the dogs. Has Kato told you how they've 
cheated and swindled me ? 

Admiral. Who? 

Har. Everybody. My servants, my tradesmen, 
and confounded womenkind. 

Admiral. \Sympathisingly, sandwich in hatidJ] 
\Points him out again as a 7nartyr to Sir Richard. 

Har. Why the deuce a man who has a perfect 
wife like I had, for Sue was as near perfection as 
possible, wasn't she, Kato ? 

Sir R. You're her husband. You ought to 

Har. She was. Perfect manners ! Perfect taste ! 
And the best of tempers ! What on earth could 
induce me ? 

Sir R. The advantages and delights of a steady 
course of respectable monogamy are so many and so 
obvious, that I have never been able to understand 
how any man or woman could possibly deviate from 
it for one moment. 

Admiral. [More sandwich.'] If ever there was a 
jewel of a wife it's Lady Darby. God bless her ! 
Here's her health. [Briftks.'] I don't deserve her. 
She's too good for me. When I remember what 


an unfaithful rascal I've been, and the lies I've had 
to tell — the awful lies — [Is overcome with painful 
reminiscences and iveeps. 

Har. I never knew what a good wife was till Sue 
left me. 

Admiral. \Getting very cotifidential, and a little 
f?iatidlin.'\ You wouldn't believe me, Jim, [Pawing 
Harabin affectionately] if I were to tell you half of 
the particulars of my — my unfortunate history. 
[Crying a little.] Of course, in these matters [Turn- 
ing to Sir Richard, and taking him in] we must all 
make great allowances for men [Sir Richard ac- 
guiesces], especially for sailors. How do you account 
for it, Jim [Stiddenly brightening into great joviality 
and pride], that the best Englishmen have always 
been such devils amongst the women ? Always ! 
I wouldn't give a damn for a soldier or sailor that 
wasn't, eh ? How is it, Jim ? 

Har. [Still absorbed in his own woes.] I don't 
know, and I jolly well don't care. 

Admiral. Yes. Taking all things into consider- 
ation I can forgive myself a good deal. But when 
all's said and done, nothing can disguise from me 
awfu' fac', Kato, that I have behaved like a disgrace- 
ful scoundrel, best of wives. [Is again overcome, and 
weeps.] And if I knew any possible way in which I 
could blot out the past, I'd do it freely and willingly. 
What would you advise me to do, Kato ? 

Sir R. In the absence of any possible amend- 


ment of conduct in the past, or any probable amend- 
ment of conduct in the future, I think a good dis- 
play of hearty repentance in the present is all that can 
be reasonably demanded from any man. 

Admiral. If I were to go down on my knees to 
her I couldn't express a thousandth part of the sor- 
row I'm feeling at this moment. 

Har. If I can only get Sue to settle down comfort- 
ably again with me, I'll reform and make a model 
husband for the rest of my hfe. 

Admiral. Ah, that's just what I've said to myself 
scores of times. And once or twice I've kept my 
word— for a considerable period, I may say a very 
considerable period, 

Har. But I mean it. Never again ! These last 
ten months since Sue left me, I've had such a lesson 
of the treachery, the extravagance, and the 
heartlessness of womankind, that from this time 
forward I am fully determined I will never 

Enter Lady Darby. 

Har. What does Sue say ? 

Lady Darby. She says she'll have nothing to say 
to you. 

Har. Very well. \^Rises resolutely, takes hat, goes 
to door, suddenly stops.] Lady Darby, do you suppose 
that — she refuses to return to me because — she has — 


Lady D. Oh no, you may make yourself quite easy 
on that point. 

Har, You're quite sure ? 

Lady D, Quite sure. 

Har. Very well. [Goes to door.] 

Sir R. Where are you going, Jim ? 

Har. To the telegraph office. You'll bear me 
witness, Kato, how awfully cut up I was, and how 
thoroughly I had determined to turn over a new leaf. 
But now I feel justified in taking advantage of any 
course of conduct that may present itself. 


Admiral. [Points to Harabin's exit as to that oj 
a martyr^ then turns to Lady Darby with resolute 
voice and mantier.] Where is Sue staying? 

Lady D. At No. 7, Marine Gardens, just oppo- 

Admiral. [ With great resolution.] Take me to 

Sir R. What are you going to do ? 

Admiral. I'm going to bring her back to her 
senses. A woman has no right to shake the foun- 
dations of society in this way. I shall tell her very 
plainly that this kind of behaviour must be put a stop 

Sir R. That tune won't do with Sue. Send her 
over to me. 

Admiral. But, my dear Kato 

Sir R. Send her to me. I shall handle her better 
than you will. 


Admiral. Very well. {Turns to Lady Darby.] 
Ah ! What a comfort it is to have a wife of the 
good old-fashioned sort like you, Victoria ! 

\Exeunt Admiral and Lady Darby at 
balcony. Sir Richard is left alone. 
Walks up and down^ puzzled. A knock 
at door. 

LuciEN enters. 

LuciEN, [Letters in hatid.'] I've looked through the 
letters, Sir Richard, and 

Sir R. Lucien, I've got a case that is puzzling 
me a geat deal. 

Lucien. Indeed ! 

Sir R. It may never come into court, but — it's 
puzzHng me. It has just occurred to me that you 
might help me. 

Lucien. Anything that I can do. 

Sir R. It is concerned with the extraordi- 
nary practices of an English clergyman at Cairo. 
This English clergyman, the Reverend Samuel 
it seems — I forget his church — Saint — Saint — Saint 
Something. What are the English churches at 
Cairo ? 

Lucien. I don't remember. 

Sir R. [Still pretendittg to be puzzled.'] Saint — ha, 
— you can't remember the English churches ? 

Lucien. No. I never went into one all the while 
I was there. 


Sir R. Then I'm afraid you can't help me. So 
you never went to church at Cairo ? Bad boy ! 
Bad boy ! You never went to church ? 

LuciEN. [Innoce?ttfy.'\ No, not once. \Siiddenly 
remembers, shows a little alarm.'] Yes, I went the 
last Sunday night I was there. I remember 

Sir R. \_Carekssly.] What was the name of the 
church ? 

LuciEN. Saint — Saint — Something. 

Sir R. What was the church Hke ? 

LuciEN. The inside ? 

Sir R. Yes. 

LuciEN. The inside ? [Beginning to flounder.] 
There was nothing remarkable about the inside. 

Sir R. Was it a large church ? 

LuciEN. Yes — rather — rather a large church — a 
medium-sized church — [Catches Sir Richard's eye.] 
You're pumping me ! 

Sir R. Pumping you, my dear boy? I only 
wanted to get a few particulars. If you don't care to 
tell me, it's of no consequence. 

LuciEN. [Getting a little angry.] I'll tell you all 
I remember. There was an aisle, and — I've an 
impression, but I can't be quite sure, that there 
were large pillars — and — and — [Gets a little fnore 
confused under Sir Richard's glance.] the sermon 
was a very long one. 

Sir R. [Looking at him?\ Ah ! 


Enter Pybus at balcony. 

Pybus. I beg pardon, Sir Richard, but if you 
will kindly help us a little, I think we might ar- 
range some basis for our returning together to the 

Sir R. Very well, Mr. Pybus. 

LuciEN. Good-bye, Sir Richard. 

\Offering hand. 

Sir R. {^Offering him the " Times r\ No, sit 
down. I want to have a little more talk about this 
long sermon. \Pushes the " Tifties " ifito his hands 
and gently pushes him into the arm-chair. '\ Now, 
Mr. Pybus. 

Pybus. [^Confidentially to Sir Richard as they 
go off at balcony.'] If you wouldn't mind hinting 
to Elaine that if she could surround me with that 
necessary atmosphere 

Sir R. Ah ! 

Pybus. Really, she does n't give me any impetus, 
any afflatus. 

Sir R. [Sympathisingly.'] Ah ! Ah ! Come 
along. We'll see about it. 

[Exeunt Sir Richard and Pybus by bal- 
cony. LuciEN is seated behind the paper ^ 
Short pause. 

Enter Waiter showing in Lady Susan. 

[Exit Waiter. 


[LuciEN rises, puts dow7i paper, comes to 

Lady S. \Embarrassed^ My uncle sent for 

LuciEN. He's outside in the garden. We've 
only a few moments. [Coming to her. 

Lady S. No, no. [Breaks away from htm.'] Oh, 
you'll go ! You'll be kind to me and go ! 

LuciEN. I shall do what you tell me, if it is to 
kill myself. 

Lady S. How can you talk so rashly ? 

LuciEN. Because I mean it. I'll go if you tell 
me. It will be a harder parting than the last, but 
I'll do it. It will break my heart, but I'd rather 
break my heart with longing for you than win all 
the other women in the world. [Her face shows 
great pleasure.] You needn't think you'll have any 
trouble in getting rid of me. [Going from her. 

Lady S. You'll break my heart if you talk like 

LuciEN. You love me still ? 

Lady S. Is there any need to ask that? And 
you — you love me still ? 

LuciEN. I've never loved any woman but you. I 
never shall if I live a thousand years. You don't 
know how you have sweetened all my life. Those 
weeks at Cairo ! They're like a splendid dream. 
All's dull grey with me now for the rest of my life. 

Lady S. All's dull grey with me for the rest of 
.my life. What am I saying ? 


LuciEN. \_Clasps her, takes her hand, sees ring on 
if.] The ring I gave you. [Kisses her fittger.'] 
Give me something in return. 

Lady S. Will you leave me then ? Oh, this is 
madness. You'll go ? You'll go ? Oh, promise me ! 

LuciEN. If you bid me. 

Lady S. [Taking off a ring.] Here's a ring 
Uncle Dick gave me ten years ago. I've worn it 
ever since. You'll never part from it ? 

[Taking ring off finger and giving it to hitn. 

LuciEN. Never. 

[Takes it, is about to put it on his finger. 

Lady S. No, don't put it on now. Uncle Dick 
would recognise it. Put it on the moment you have 
left me, and wear it always. 

LuciEN. Always. To my last breath. 

Lady S. You'll never speak of me ? 

LuciEN. I have never breathed your name to a 
living soul from the moment I left you. I never 
will. Don't you see, I cannot speak of you? I 
must hide you. I shall hide you in my heart till 
I die. 

Lady S. And I shall hide you in my heart till 
I die. [Looking off at balcony.] We've only a 

LuciEN. One moment in all our lives. 

Lady S. Good-bye. 

LuciEN. Good-bye. [Clasping her.] No ! I can't 
give you up ! Sue, we belong to each other. I'll 
give my whole life to make you happy. 

F 2 


Lady S. [Struggli7ig m his arms^ No, no ! I 
daren't ! I daren't ! What will become of me ? 

LuciEN. Trust me. You're mine already. You 
can't trust me more than you have trusted me. You 
sha'n't deny me ! You sha'n't cheat yourself and me 
of all that makes life worth living. I cannot leave 
you ! I will not ! 

Lady S. {Desperately ?\ What can I do ? What 
can I do? 

LuciEN. Meet me to-morrow night at eight — the 
Continental mail, Cannon Street Station. We'll go 
over to the Continent. You'll come ? You must ! 
You shall ! 

Lady S. {Desperately^ Yes. \He takes her 
hand, kisses it.] 
• Lady S. Hush ! 

LuciEN. To-morrow night — Cannon Street Sta- 
tion. [She nods. 

Enter Sir Richard at window. Lady Susan and 
LuciEN show a little confusion. Sir Richard 
looks keenly from one to the other and back again. 

Sir R. ([//? a very calm viatter-offact tone.] 
Lucien, I've been consulting the time-tables, and I 
find if you leave to-morrow morning by the eleven 
o'clock train, you'll have time to make those inquiries 
for me about the clergyman in Cairo, and still catch 
next Thursday's boat to New Zealand. 

LuciEN. I'm very sorry. Sir Richard; it's impos- 


Sir R. Not a bit, my dear boy. Now go back 
to Eastgate at once, up to town by the two fifteen, 
dine with me at Brooks's to-night at eight, and off you 
go to-morrow morning at eleven. 
LuciEN. I'm very sorry — I can't. 
Sir R. I'm very sorry, but you can, and you will. 
LuciEN. I've certain things to do. 
Sir R. And certain things to leave undone. [ Very 
sternly.^ Come, sir, you leave at eleven to-morrow. 

[ Very firmly. 
LuciEN. \_More fir??ily.'] No. 
Sir R. \Still more firmly?^ Yes, I say, yes. 

LuciEN. But I 

Sir R. But I say "Yes." \In a very kind but 
firm tone^ Come, my lad, understand me, I mean 
it. Off you go. \Opetis the door, stands with it 
openi\ Pack ! Pack ! Pack ! 

LuciEN has a mometit or twds indecision^ 

exchanges one last agonised look with 

Lady Susan, and then is about to rush 

off. Sir Richard at door intercepts 

him., offers his hand. Lucien, after 

another mofne?ifs indecisioti, takes it, 

wrings Sir Richard's ha?id. 

Sir R. [^Cordi ally shaking hands. ^ There's a good 

lad ! [Lucien rushes off. Sir Richard closes door 

after hitn, comes to Lady Susan, with great decision. 

Very resolutely.^ Now, my very dear Sue, I'm going 

to have a little talk with you. 


Lady S. [A little alarmed, a little cowed, a little 
defiant.'] What about ? 

Sir R. It's time this pretty little escapade of 
yours was ended. People are beginning to talk 
about you, and you've gone just as far as it's possible 
to go without running the risk of becoming declasse. 

Lady S. Declass^ ? There are plenty of women 
who are not good, and who are not declasse. 

Sir R. Very likely. Women are divided into two 

Lady S. Good and bad. 

Sir R. Not at all. Those who 'ave lost their 
reputation, and those who 'ave kept it. I'm deter- 
mined you shall keep yours. 

Lady S. Thank you, my dear Uncle Dick. I've 
kept my reputation, such as it is, up to now, and I 
assure you, it's quite safe in my keeping for the 

1 Sir R. Very likely. But I'm going to make sure 
of it. 

Lady S. [^Provokingly.] Oh, indeed ! And how 
will you do that ? 

Sir R. Your husband is here. He's anxious for 
you to return to him and your home. 

Lady S. [^Defiantly.] I've told you, no, no, no. 

Sir R. Very well. Then, my dear Sue, as I've 
seen nothing of you for the last ten months, suppose 
you come on a little visit to me. 

LadyS. When? 


Sir R. At once. This afternoon, by the four 

Lady S. No. I'll come in two or three weeks. 

Sir R. What are you going to do in the mean- 

Lady S. Do ? Nothing. 

Sir R. Where are you going ? 

Lady S. Going ? Nowhere. 

Sir R. You're going to stay here ? 

Lady S. Yes — of course. 

Sir R. How long ? 

Lady S. Just as long as I feel inclined. 

Sir R. Very well. I'll come and stay with you. 

Lady S. You can't. There's no room in the 

Sir R. I'll get rooms next door. 

Lady S. What for ? 

Sir R. Just to be near you. 

Lady S. It's ridiculous ! Impossible ! 

Sir R. Not a bit. My dear girl, make up your 
mind that, at all costs, you're going to have my 
company for the next few weeks. 

Lady S. Indeed I won't. I won't have you in 
my house. I'll turn you out. 

Sir R. I'll stay on the doorstep. Understand 
me, my dear Sue, I shall haunt you like your 
shadow, and there will be no escaping from me. 
Now you know what is in store for you, so behave 
like a good girl and give me a hearty welcome. 

Lady S. Indeed, I won't ! I'll run away from 


you. \Getting into a temper, walking tip mid down 
with great indignation, uttering little cries.] Really ! 
Of all the absurd— Well ! — What next ! — I never — 
Oh ! [Turns round and faces him, very resolutely.] 
Now, Uncle Dick, I love you very much, but don't 
drive me to kick over the traces. 

Sir R. My dear Sue, I'm going to take very good 
care that you don't. 

Lady S. Really, of all the unwarrantable — 
[Bursts into a fit of angry laughter.] Once for all 
understand me. Uncle Dick, I'm my own mistress, 
and I'm going to do just as I please. 

Sir R. No, my dear Sue, you are going to do just 
what is suitable for my niece, and for an English 
lady with her own reputation and the reputation of 
her family to consider. 

Lady S. No, I'm not. I'll — I'll — [Bursts into a 
fit of angry tears.] I'll do something that will 
make you horribly ashamed of me. I will, Uncle 

Dick. I'll [Steps up to him, is about to snap her 

fingers at him.] 

Sir R. Ah ! [Catches her hand and puts it down.] 
My dear Sue, you may snap your fingers at your 
husband, but you must not snap your fingers at 
me ! 

Lady S. [Struggling to get her hatid.] I hate you. 
Uncle Dick ! I hate you ! 

[Stamping her foot at him. 

Sir R. [Complacently.] Very well, my dear Sue. 
Hate me as much as you please, but understand, 


there are the three proverbial courses open to you, 
and one of those three proverbial courses you'll 
take, and no other. Firstly, you can return to your 
home with your husband 

Lady S. \_Defiantly.'\ No. 

Sir R. Or, secondly, you can stay here in my 
very delightful and constant company. 

Lady S. No. 

Sir R. Or, thirdly, you can return to Harley Street 
with me, and I'll give you a comfortable home as 
long as you please. Which of these three courses 
will you take ? 

Lady S. Neither ! Neither ! Neither ! 

Efiter Harabin at door. 

Har. \_Coming in.] I say, Kato — [Sees Lady 
Susan.] I beg your pardon. 

[Beats a hasty retreat, shuts the door after him. 

Sir R. [In an alarmed totie to Lady Susan.] For 
heaven's sake. Sue, don't be a fool ! 

Lady S. [Frightened ?\ What do you mean ? 

Sir R. I'm trying to save you. Take care that 
Jim [Stops ?^ 

Lady S. [Still more frightened.] Jim doesn't 

Sir R. Not at present. But take care. One 
false step and you're lost. 

Lady S. Lost ? What do you mean ? What do 
you know ? 


Sir R. [ Very so/emnfy.] The sermon was a very 
long one ! 

Lady S. [In an agony of fright.'] Uncle Dick, 
I've done nothing wrong. You believe me, don't 
you ? There wasn't even so much as an innocent 
flirtation. There wasn't, indeed ! You believe me, 
don't you ? [ Very much agitated. 

Sir R. Yes, I believe you, but — [ Very mysteriously] 
appearances ! 

Lady S. \In an agony of fright.] Appearances? 
Appearances ? What appearances ? 

Sir R. [Very solemnly, very mysteriously.] That 
last Sunday evening at Cairo ! 

Lady S. [Frightened?^ E — h ? 

Sir R. [ Very decidedly?] Which of the three courses 
will you take ? 

Lady S. [In a quiet, humble voice.] I'll go back 
to Harley Street with you. 


Fifteen months pass between Acts 2 and 3. 



Scene. At Sir Richard Kato's at Harley 
Street. Very snug bachelor's apartments, hand- 
somely furnished. Door right. Door left. 
Fireplace at back. Window in corner up left. 
A winter evening. Lamps lighted. Large fire 
burning. Discover Kirby showing in Inez left, 
in handsojue ivinter dress and fur cloak. 

Kirby. I'll tell Sir Richard you are here, ma'am. 

\Exit left. 

As Kirby is going out., Lady Susan etiters right. 

Lady S. Dearest, I heard your voice. {Kisses her. 

Inez. I've been out all day. When I got home I 
found a note from Sir Richard asking me to come 

Lady S. You're to take me out to dinner this 

Inez. Oh ! Then Sir Richard has a family 
party ? 

Lady S. Yes, my husband is coming. So of course 
I must go. 

Inez. Why must you go? 

Lady S. Why should I stay ? 

Inez. Why shouldn't you? Is there any par- 
ticular reason that you shouldn't meet your hus- 
band ? 


Lady S. [^Considering the matter in an indifferent 
tone.] N-o. But, on the other hand, is there any par- 
ticular reason that I should ? 

Inez. You don't hate him ? 

Lady S. [Indifferently.] N-o. 

Inez. You love him? [Lady Susan shakes her 
head.] Just a little bit ? 

Lady S. Not a tiny little bit. 

Inez. .You- don't dislike him? 

Lady S. [Same careless indifferent tone.] No. 
Feather the reverse. The longer Jim and I are parted 
the more I find a mild sort of liking for him stealing 
over me. 

Inez. Why won't you meet him and talk things 
over ? He would give guarantees for the future. 

Lady S. Really I don't wish to demand anything 
so unreasonable. 

Inez. Unreasonable? 

Lady S. Considering what the creatures are, isn't 
it rather unreasonable of us to demand faithfulness 
from men ? 

Inez. [After a little pause, with considerable feeling^ 
I know one man who was faithful. 

Lady S. [Sighs ?\ Well, perhaps there is one in a 
million. Yes, Inez, I do believe there is one in a 
million. But no woman has ever married him ! 

Enter Sir Richard. 

Sir R. How d'ye do ? 

[To Inez, shaking hands cordially. 


Lady S. She has done her duty, Uncle Dick. 

Sir R. What duty ? 

Lady S. Begged me to stay and dine with my 

Sir R. Oh ! 

Lady S. And as that is impossible, she will now 
do the further duty of taking me to dine at the 
Bristol, and to the Lyceum afterwards. 

Etiter KiRBY left, with card, which he bri?igs to 
Sir Richard. 

Lady S. Come, Inez, I'll dress and come back 
with you. [^Takifig Inez of, right. 

Sir R. [To Kirby.] Show Mr. Jacomb up. 

[Exit Kirby, left. 

Lady S. [Shows interest, stops at door, comes back.'\ 
Jacomb ? Isn't that the man — who 

Sir R. Yes, that's the man who — You'd better 

Lady S. It's no business of mine. Inez, this is 
some man who has met that Mr. Lucien Edensor 
in New Zealand, and 

Enter Kirby, left, announcing Mr. Jacomb. Enter 
Mr. Jacomb, left. 

[Exit Kirby. 
Lady S. Very well. Uncle Dick. As you seem to 
wish it, I will stay. 


Jacomb. [a genial^ rosy old fellozv, about sixty.'] 
Sir Richard Kato? [Sir Richard bows.] I'm glad 
to meet you. \_Shakitig hands.] As I wrote I have a 
message for you from Mr. Lucien Edensor, and also 
one for Lady Susan Harabin. 

Lady S. \_Startled, a little agitated.] For me? 
impossible ! 
Jacomb. And one for Mrs. Quesnel. 
Inez. For me ? 

Sir R. [Introducing.] Mr. Jacomb. Mrs. Quesnel. 
Lady Susan Harabin. [They bow. 

Lady S. [Agitated.] I'm quite sure you can have 
no message for me. [Seeing that Sir Richard is 
watching her. To Sir Richard.] What message 
can he have for me ? 

Sir R. Let's hear. [Motions her to a seat. She 
sits down so that her face is hidden frofn Sir Rich- 
ard, Inez, and Jacomb, but quite in full view of 

Sir R. [Alotioning Inez to a chair. Standi?tg so 
that he can iust watch Lady Susan's face. She 
turns away from hitn.] Now we are all attention. 
[Moves a little forward so that he can again see 
Lady Susan's face. She again turns a little further 
away from him. During following scene he watches 
her very closely, constantly edging to get her face in 

Jacomb. A year ago last September I sailed for 
New Zealand with my brother Frank and his wife 
and daughter, his only daughter. Frank I must tell 


you is the head of Jacomb, Perrin and Co. You 
may know the firm ? 

Sir R. New Zealand shippers, a very first-rate 

Lady S. But what has all this to do with me ? 

Sir R. Let's hear. 

Jacomb. Well, on board there was a young fel- 
low, Mr. Lucien Edensor. I noticed that he seemed 
very home-sick, poor fellow. 

[Seeing that Sir Richard is watching her. 
Lady Susan pretends to be bored, gazes 
at ceiling, yawns, etc. 

Lady S. \_Assumed indifference.^ Did he ? 

Jacomb. Yes, wouldn't eat, wouldn't talk, wouldn't 
play poker, wouldn't make chums, wouldn't do any- 
thing. Well, one night, over a cigar and a glass of 
whiskey, I drew him out, and of course it was all 
about a woman, poor fellow. 

Sir R. All about a woman ! Poor fellow ! 

Lady S. All about a woman ! Poor fellow ! 

[ Yawns, looks at ceiling. 

Jacomb. His heart was broken, life was a hopeless 
blank, and he'd a great mind to end it there and 

Lady S. Indeed ! 

Jacomb. Well, I took him into Frank's private 
cabin, and Mrs. Jacomb and Annie seemed to take a 
great fancy to him. 

LAdy S. Did they ? 

Jacomb. And to make a long story short, the 


next day, just for the sake of whiling away the 
time on board ship, I made a sporting bet of fifty 
pounds with my brother Frank that there would be 
a match between his daughter Annie and young 

Lady S. Indeed ! [Same tone.'\ Did you win ? 

Jacomb. You shall hear. My wife and I set to 

work, and from morning till night we did nothing 

but lay our heads together to bring it off. You 

^ wouldn't believe how interesting it was to watch 


Lady S. It must have been. What was the re- 
sult ? 

Jacomb. He held out. He couldn't forget this 
other woman. [Lady Susan hides her face from 
those on sta^e, shows great delight. '\ Yes, he held 
out, for over three weeks. [Lady Susan's face 
changes!] I thought I should lose my fifty pounds. 

[Sir Richard is most keeftly watching 
Lady Susan all the time 

Inez. And at the end of the three weeks ? 

Jacomb. He began to thaw. My fifty pounds was 

Lady S. You seem to have been alarmed for 
your fifty pounds. \Rather pettishly. 

Jacomb. It wasn't the money. I couldn't bear to 
be beaten. I wouldn't have lost that bet for a 
thousand pounds. I was determined he should 
marry her. 

Lady S. And — did he ? 


Jacomb. \Fumbles in his overcoat pocket, brings 
out three little parcels tied round with white satin 
ribbon, looks at the addresses.^ I promised him I'd 
deliver these in person. 

\Offering one to Lady Susan. 
Lady S. For me ? What is it ? 
Jacomb. Open it. 

[Lady Susan takes parcel, opens it, pulls out 
a letter and the ring she had given him 
in Act II., shows great pain. Meantime 
Jacomb has given the other tzvo parcels to 
Inez atid Sir Richard respectively ; they 
have taken them and opened them, find- 
ing in them tiny pieces of wedding-cake. 
Inez. Wedding-cake ! Why should Mr. Edensor 
send wedding-cake to me ? 
Lady S. Or to me ? 

\Takes Lucien's rijig off her finger, puts it 
in the box, wraps letter round it, goes up to 
Sir R. [Nibbling^ Very good wedding-cake it is, 
too. Won't you try it, Sue ? 

Lady S. You know I never eat sweets. 

\Throws box and all into the fire. 
Inez. {Putting hers in pocket.'] I'll sleep with mine 
under my pillow. 

Sir R. And so they married and lived happy ever 
afterwards. [Putting his parcel on table at back.] Why 
didn't Lucien write and tell me ? 



Jacomh. He said you had chaffed him so much 
about tlie other one, and he didn't like you to know 
that he'd changed his mind so soon. 

Lady S. So soon ! But he was three weeks. He 
must have been genuinely attached to the other 
woman to have held out for so long as three weeks. 
What is your niece like ? 

Jacomb. I'd forgotten. I've a photograph of them 
taken together. \Pulllng photoi:;raph ovt of his Iweast 

pocket.'] There they are 

\_S/iozvi}tg 'iiiK Richard the photograph. 

Sir R. \_Looking.'] He looks confoundedly happy, 
the rascal ! 

Jacomb. Never was a happier couple in this 
world ! 

Lady S. Will you allow me ? [Sir R. gives her ^ 
the photograph. She takes //.] Is your niece fair 
or dark ? 

Jacomb. Rather fair, Lady Susan, and she's a 
sweet-tempered little body. 

Lady S. {^Looking at photograph^ H'm, so she 
seems. Such women make the best wives. And 
Mr. Edensor held out for three weeks against those 
attractions. How could he? {Giving back the photo- 
graph?^ Thank you. Very interesting. 

Jacomb. [Taking photograph.] Well, I've delivered 
my message. Sir Richard. 

Sir R. [Rings beiL] Thank you, Mr. Jacomb. 
I'll write Lucien and tell him I've received it safely. 


Jacomb. \_Shakiug hands.^ Delighted to have 
made your acquaintance. Good day, Mrs. Quesnel. 
Good day, Lady Susan. 

[Lady Susan and Inez bow. 

KiRBY appears at door. 

Sir R. Kirby, remind me to send half-a-dozen of 
that old Madeira to Mr. Edensor in New Zealand. 
The door. 

Jacomb. [^Going off.'\ You can't believe what 
trouble I had to make him understand he was in 
love with her. But I landed him ! I landed him ! 
And I won my fifty pounds ! 

[Exit lefi, folloived by Kirby. 
Lady S. I must go and dress, Liez. 
Inez. I'll come with you, dearest. 
Lady S. {Pettishly?)^ No, go and dress at home, 
and come back for me, and we'll dine at the Cafe 
Royal, shall we ? 
Inez. I don't mind. 

Lady S. Yes, and we'll go to something merry 
and rakish, not to a tragedy. I hate tragedies. 

\_Exit right. 
[Sir Richard opens the door for her. He 
doses the door after her, stands perplexed. 
Inez. What's puzzling you ? 

Sir R. Mrs. Quesnel, what was the exact nature 
of Sue's acquaintance with Lucien ? 

G 2 


Inez. What does it matter ? You needn't 
trouble about Sue. We women know the value of 
appearances. We are awful cowards, and have ter- 
rible Meanings towards respectability. Sue won't 
shatter Mr. Harabin's family gods on his family 
hearth, or burst up Mr. Harabin's family boiler with 
any new-fangled explosive. And so long as Mr. 
Harabin's family boiler remains intact, why should 
you meddle with Sue ? I must go and dress. My 
cloak, please. 

Sir R. \Helping her on -with cloak.'\ It's a brutal 
night. I wish you were going to stay and dine with 
us. How well you look in furs ! 

[Sir Richard sighs. 

Inez. Why do you sigh ? 

Sir R. Alas ! My family gods ! My family 
hearth ! My family boiler ! 

Inez. What of it ? 

Sir R. There's no one to tend it ! 

\Pointijig to his fireside. 

Inez. And no one to burst it up. 

Sir R. It wouldn't burst up if it were in the 
right person's care. 

Inez. \MischievousIy^ Ah, but who would be 
the right person ? 

Sir R. Yourself, for instance. 

Inez. I wouldn't play tricks with the safety-valve. 


Sir R. \Taking her hand.'] Stay. Would you 


really undertake the charge — of — \Pointing to hearth?^ 
— my family gods and family boiler ? 

Inez. That depends. First of all I should like 
to know a little about the previous engineers. You 
are terribly concerned about Sue. How about 

Sir R. Won't you trust me ? 

Inez. No, I won't. You're a sensible man. I'm 
a sensible woman. I don't expect you to have lived 
till — how old are you ? 

Sir R. Say forty-five — it's a few years more, but 
say forty-five. 

Inez. Till forty-five without having loved. But I 
should like to know 

Sir R. What ? 

Inez. Well, some particulars. 

Sir R. [ Walks about a little perplexed?^ You don't 
want to know everything ? 

Inez. No, not everything. But a good deal. 

Sir R. If I tell you the leading outlines quite 
truthfully, will you tell me the leading outlines quite 
truthfully ? 

Inez. Yes. How many times have you really 
loved ? 

Sir R. Only once, and that is at the present 
moment. \Looking at her, 

Inez. Good-bye. I wanted to know the truth. 

Sir R. Don't go. I'll tell you — the truth. 

Inez. Honour ? I really mean to be quite truthful 
with you. 


Sir R. Yes, but I hope your case won't — won't 

Inez. Won't be as bad as yours? Oh, no, it 
won't. Rest assured of that. No woman's case ever 
is as bad as a man's. Now go on. 

Sir R. I've thought myself in love scores of 
times, but I've only really loved once, and that was 
— \Longish pause with great feeling.'\ I won't tell 
you. It's too sacred. I did love that woman with 
all my heart and soul. And she loved me. \_Fause. 

Inez. And those other scores of cases when you 
thought you were in love ? 

Sir R. Oh, they don't count. 

Inez. But I should like to get some — some general 

Sir R. What does it matter ? There was a light 

Inez. And a dark girl ? Come, the whole cata- 

Sir R. [J?att/es away, half seriously, half jest- 
ingly^ A light girl, a dark girl, a red-haired girl ; a 
tall girl, a short girl ; a merry girl, a sad girl ; a lean 
girl, a fat girl ; a girl in mauve, a girl in white, a 
girl in green ; a blonde, a brunette ; a girl with 
>eyes as blue as heaven, and a girl with eyes as black 
as jet j a quaker girl, a danseuse ; a pale girl, a 
sallow girl, a rosy-cheeked girl ; a peer's daughter, 
a miUiner; a Scotch girl, an Irish girl, an Italian 
girl ; and — some others. You can't say I haven't 
made a clean breast of it. 

Inez. And you have thought yourself in love 


with all these ? What does remain of your 
heart ? 

Sir R. All that doesn't belong to that one woman 
whom I did really love. 

Inez. Ah ! 

Sir R. Now it's your turn. 

Inez. Suppose I follow your example and lump 
them as you've done, and say that in vagrant hours 
I've had vagrant fancies for a light man, a dark man, 
a red-haired man ; a tall man, a short man ; a merry 
man, a sad man ; a man in a blouse, a man in 
knickerbockers, a man in a kilt ; a hunter in pink, 
and a bicyclist ; a Scotchman, an Irishman, and — 
I won't say an Italian, but just to fill out the list 
I'll throw you in a couple of Spaniards, a Hindoo 
prince, and a young Japanese. Suppose I were to 
own up to all these ? 

Sir R. But, good heaven, you don't ? 

Inez. No. But if I did ? 

Sir R. I should ask for further details. 

Inez. If I asked you for further details ? 

Sir R. I should decline to give them. 

Inez. And let me fill them in according to 
my wildest imaginations — let me guess how much 
of that spacious heart of yours was given to this 
stray companion, and how much to that stray com- 
panion. Ah, no, no, no, no ! Let's draw a 

Sir R. But you haven't told me anything. 

Inez. I will. Sincerely I have loved once. And 


I should like to remain constant, if constancy were 
not such a dream. 

Sir R. Is constancy a dream ? 
Inez. What else is it ? You have loved once, 
and yet with her consecrated image in your heart's 
holy of holies, you have opened its outer courts to 
a rabble of petticoats ; broken the bread and drunk 
the wine with sluts ; tossed off life's sacrament with 
ajiy strange priestess that offered it — look at the 
remains of the feast ! Oh, no, no, no, my dear 
friend ! if constancy isn't a dream, if faithfulness isn't 
a shadow, where are they to be found ? 

Sir R. Not in my heart. Yet I have loved once. 
Thank God for it ! 

Inez. And I have loved once. Thank God for 
it ! [A long pause. They look at each other seriously, 
then smile, and theti gradually laugh in 
each other's face. 

Sir R. To come back to 

Inez. To Harley Street ? 

Sir R. And the previous question. What do 
you say ? 

Inez. I'll think it over. [Suddenly.'] Dear me ! 
I've stayed here gossiping with you, and now if I 
don't make haste I shall be too late to get Sue away 
before her husband comes. My cloak ! Quick ! 

Sir R. [Helping her on with it.] You do look 
well in furs. 

Inez. [Fastening her cloak.] Shall I tell you a 
secret ? All women do. 


[S/ie runs off. Sir Richard stands looking 
after her, blows a kiss after her, sighs, 
closes door, goes icp to windozv, looks out- 
side, draws curtain, takes out his watch, 
changes coat for smoking jacket, lights 
pipe, sits down at fire, sighs, looks at 
the fre, looks at the door where Inez 
has gone off, bloivs another kiss after her, 
pokes tJie fire. 

E?tter Fergusson Pybus {shown in by Kirby) very 
pale and bilious ; with a look of settled gloom on 
his face ; a large black patch over one eye ; care- 
lessly and seedily dressed. \Exit Kirby. 

Sir R. Good heaven, Mr. Pybus ! what's the 
matter ? 

Pybus. Haven't you heard ? The Boadicean Society 
— my wife has got all the telegraph girls and shop girls 
in Clapham out on strike. 

Sir R. Yes, so I see in the paper. Well ? 

Pybus. I thought perhaps you might sympathise 
with me. 

Sir R. \Cordially?\ I do. \Shakes his hand.^ 
What's the matter with your eye ? Not — not domestic, 
I trust ? 

Pybus. No. Mr. Cupples, our butcher [Fiteously.^ 
— I'm in a state of extreme nervous prostration. 

Sir R. Yes. 


Pybus. Elaine persuaded Mrs. Cupples to join 
her Boadicean Society. Cupples had been in the 
habit of spending his evenings at the King's Head. 
Last week the Boadicean Society went round to the 
King's Head, and sung temperance songs at Cupples, 
and then escorted him home. The next morning 
Cupples came round to the Nest and demanded an 
interview with me. I declined to see him, but he 
stayed outside, and as soon as I appeared, without 
waiting for me to disclaim all responsibility for my 
wife's actions, he took advantage of my state of 
nervous prostration, and 

Sir R. Poor fellow ! Poor fellow ! 

[Fafs Pybus's shoulder sympathisingly. 

Pybus. What would you advise me to do ? 

Sir R. With regard to Cupples ? Do you owe him 
anything ? 

Pybus. There is a little bill. 

Sir R. What sort of a man is he ? 

Pybus. He is a coarse powerful man, with a 
copious supply of very abusive epithets. 

Sir R. I should pay him his little bill. Then I 
should utterly refuse to have anything more to do 
with him. I should cut him dead. 

Pybus. Ye — es. Perhaps that would be best. And 
Elaine ? 

Sir R. Where is she ? 

Pybus. I left her at the Nest this morning, ad- 
dressing the post office girls from my bedroom win- 
dow, and urging them to make an example of the 


Clapham postmaster. Sir Richard, you might have 
warned me of the nature of Elaine's temper. 

Sir R. Ah ! Didn't I mention something about 
tempers ? 

Pybus. At the time I became engaged to her my 
prospects were most brilliant. If she had given me 
the least afflatus I feel sure I should have stamped 
myself on the age in some way. 

Sir R. I'm sure you would ! 

Pybus. But so far is she from giving me any 
afflatus, she will not even give me a light and easily 
assimilated course of diet. I cannot nourish my 
peculiar gifts on tinned mutton of the cheapest brands, 
and the more stringy portions of an underdone ham. 

Sir R. Ah ! Didn't I mention something about 
cooking lessons ? 

Enter Kirby left, iviih evenitig paper. 

KiRBY. I beg pardon, Sir Richard, I thought you 
might like to see {Giving paper. 

Sir R. What ? 

KiRBY. [Pointing to article in paper.^ The 
Clapham post office has been completely wrecked 
by the telegraph girls on strike. 

[Exit Kirby. Pybus groans and turns 
round in his chair. 

Sir R. [Reading?^ "Progress of the strike. The 
Clapham postmaster put to flight, takes refuge in a 
coal cellar. Destruction of telegraphic communi- 
cation with Clapham." 


Pyrus. \^Looks up piteouslyl\ Am I liable? 

Sir R. Somebody will have to pay the piper. 

And as your wife called the tune 

[Pybus groans. 

Re-enter Kirby left. 

KiRBY. Sir Richard, Mrs. Pybus has come in 
[Pybus jumps up\ and says she must see you at 

Pybus. Go and remonstrate with her, Sir 
Richard, and ask her — [Elaine enters, Pybus sees 
her, has a furious outburst?\ — ask her what the devil 
will be the end of all this damned silly behaviour ! 

\Exit Kirby. 

Elaine. \Looks Pybus up and down with the ut- 
most contempt^ The old weapons ! Abuse and brute 
force ! No other argument ! 

Pybus. [Rather more mildly.'] So it is — a damned 

silly [Growls the end of the sentence under his 

breath to himself^ 

[Elaine, merciless, contemptuous, looks at 
him. He meekly subsides into his chair. 

Elaine. [Turns to Sir Richard.] When to- 
day's revolution is complete it will no longer be 
safe for men to swear at their wives. 

Sir R. I shall be sorry to note the disappearance 
of another picturesque old custom. 

Elaine. [Severely^ Please do not trifle. You 
have doubtless followed the recent course of events 
in Clapham 


Sir R. Yes. You seem to have been using a 
great deal of brute force with that poor devil of a 

Elaine. It was the only argument he could un- 
derstand. I have called to make a formal demand 
for the remainder of my fortune. [Pybus_/>/;///^ ?//.] 
I have immediate use for it. 

Sir R. What use, may I ask ? 

Elaine. To accelerate the progress of the new 

Pybus. [Profesfing.] Sir Richard 

Elaine. [J^usf glances at Pybus, the^i turns her 
back contemptuously on him.'\ We had perhaps better 
discuss this matter apart from Mr. Pybus, as it is no 
concern of his. 

Pybus. \_Appeals.'] Sir Richard 

Sir R. Tsch ! tsch ! tsch ! We won't discuss 
it at all. Rest assured I shall not hand over your 
fortune for any such nonsense. 

Elaine. Nonsense ! He calls our new epoch non- 
sense ! 

Pybus. \_Venturing.'] So it is ! Damned silly, idiotic. 
[Elaine looks fiercely at him. He 7nutters 
and subsides. 

Elaine. \^To Sir Richard.] You will find that we 
are in earnest. 

Sir R. About what ? 

Elaine. About re-organising society. 

Sir R. I don't quite follow — how will wrecking 
Clapham post office re-organise society ? 


Er.AiNE. We must make a start somewhere 

Sir R. Begin at home, in your own lives. There's 
no other way of re-organising society. Go back to 
the Nest, and give Mr. Pybus a nice comfortable 

Elaine. No man shall receive dinner from me 
while the present inequalities between the sexes 
remain unredressed. 

Sir R. \To Pybus.] We shall all starve. 

Elaine. Please be serious. Do you deny that 
Woman has been most shamefully treated by 
Man ? 

Sir R. It isn't Man that's ungallant to Woman. 
It's Nature that is so ungallant and so unkind to 
your sex. 

Elaine. We will correct Nature. 

Sir R. By changing your sex? What is it you 
ladies want ? You are evidently dissatisfied with 
being women. You cannot wish to be anything so 
brutal and disgusting as a man. And unfortunately 
there is no neuter sex in the human species. What 
do you want ? 

Elaine. We want freedom to develop our real 

Sir R. Hum — sounds like a deadly dull, un- 
wholesome process. Still, for my part, you are 
quite welcome. But if that is your ideal, why did 
you marry Mr. Pybus ? I don't see that he is 

Elaine. Mr. Pybus is not necessary. [Pybus 


jumps up protest! ugly. ^ There is an immense future 
for Woman 

Sir R. \l!iterruptiiig?^ At her own fireside. There 
is an immense future for women as wives and 
mothers, and a very Umited future for them in any 
other capacity. While you ladies without passions 
— or with distorted and defeated passions — are 
raving and trumpeting all over the country, that 
wise, grim, old grandmother of us all, Dame Nature, 
is simply laughing up her sleeve and snapping her 
fingers at you and your new epochs and new move- 
ments. Go home ! Be sure that old Dame Nature 
will choose her own darlings to carry on her own 
schemes. Go home ! Go home ! Nature's darling 
woman is a stay-at-home woman, a woman who 
wants to be a good wife and a good mother, and 
cares very little for anything else. [Elaine is about 
to speak. Sir Richard silences her with a gesture.] 
Go home ! go home, and don't worry the world any 
longer about this tiresome sexual business, for, take 
my word, it was settled once for all in the Garden 
of Eden, and there's no more to be said about it. 
Go home ! Go home ! Go home ! 

Elaine. [I^urious.] Sir Richard, you are grossly 
indelicate ! 

Sir R. [Blandly.] I am. So's Nature. [Cheer- 
fully.] Now I must go and dress for dinner. 

Re-enter Kirby with another paper in his hand. 
Kirby. Beg pardon. Sir Richard. Latest edition. 


I see there's a warrant issued for the apprehen- 

\Indicating Elaine. Elaine shoivs great 

Elaine. Not for me ? 

KiRBY. Yes, ma'am. \Exit. 

Pybus. There, you see. I thought your Boadicean 

Elaine. Silence. This is my affliir. \To Sir 
Richard.] Do you think they will send me — away ? 

Sir R. \Paper in /land.] It looks uncommonly 
like it. [Pybus begins to look pleased. 

Elaine. How long — do you suppose ? 

Sir R. The ringleaders at Birmingham got eighteen 

Elaine. [In a fright.'] Eighteen months ! 

Sir R. Of course I shall defend you, and I shall 
do my best to get you off lightly. But you must take 
great care in the meantime, and, above all, no public 

Pybus. And she's such a good public speaker. 

Elaine. I cannot sacrifice my principles, nor will 
I be muzzled. 

Sir R. [Angry. \ Then, frankly, I won't defend 

Elaine. [After a pause, has a great inspiration.] 
I will defend myself ! 

Sir R. [Horrified.'] Defend yourself! Don't talk 
such nonsense. You'll get five years. 

Elaine. The longer the better. Our cause 


demands a martyr. I will surrender to-night. Please 
ring the bell. 

[Pybus rijtgs the dell with great alacrity. 

Sir R. You silly woman ! Do you know what you 
are doing ? 

Pybus. Sir Richard, do please let her know what is 
best for herself. 

Elaine. If I defend myself I shall be allowed to 
speak ? 

Sir R. [^Sarcastically. '\ Oh, yes ! 

KiRBY appears, door left. 

Elaine. [To Kirby.] A hansom at once, please. 
I have a message for this age ! 

[Exit proudly in a gloiv of inartyrdom, fol- 
lowed by Kirby. 

Sir R. [Having watched her off.^ Good heaven ! 
How is it that women never will understand the 
Woman question? [Turns to Pybus.] What do you 
intend to do ? 

Pybus. I shall now return to the Nest. It is not 
naturally a noisy spot, nor are the inhabitants of 
Clapham an unruly class, except when they are incited 
by seditious persons. I may now perhaps be able to 
stamp myself upon the age. 

Sir R. I dare say. 

Pybus. [Going off at door, turns.'] — Sir Richard 
— [ Very nervously.] in view of a period of quietude 
at the Nest, I really think it advisable for my wife 
to conduct her defence in person — [Looking very 
imploringly at Sir Richard.] I do, indeed. [Con- 



timies to look very imploringly at Sir Richard. Sir 
^\CYi.k^Y> at length cordially grasps his hand.\ Thank 
you. Thank you. 

\Exit delighted, left, as Lady Susan in 
handsome evening dress and cloak re-enters 
by the other door. 

Sir R. \_Looking at her, takes her handsP\ You 
look very handsome, Sue. Hillo ! then you've found 
my ring ! 

Lady S. Yes, it turned up the other day. 

Sir R. Where? 

Lady S. \^A little confiisedJ] Oh, I was turning over 
some old rubbish, and there it was. 

Sir R. l^Looks at her keenly, her eyes drop, and she 
goes to the window, draivs aside the ciirtaift, discovers 
a thick fall of S710W outside.^ What a night ! Why do 
you insist on going out to dine ? 

Lady S. Why do you insist on asking people to 
dinner whom I cannot possibly meet ? 

Enter Kirby, shotving in Harabin. Kirby announces 
Mr. Harabin. Exit Kirby. 

• Lady S. [ Very indignaiitly^ Uncle Dick ! 
Har. I beg pardon. I see there's a mistake. 

\_Going back to door left. 

Sir R. {Stopping Lady Susan at door right, calls 

across to Harabin.] Harabin, one moment. It's 

my fault. Let me frankly apologise to both of you. 

Getting Lady Susan doivn stage, driving them 


nearer to each other. ^ First of all let us own there 
has been a mistake. And now the mistake is made 
let us make the best of it. \To Harabin.] Lady 
Susan is dining out with Mrs. Quesnel, but as Mrs, 
Quesnel has not arrived, naturally Lady Susan is 
obliged to wait. \Getting them nearer to each other 
all the time. To Lady Susan.] Mr. Harabin is 
dining with me. He has come a little too early, 
but I am sure you wouldn't wish me to send him 
out on such a night as this. [^Drawing her closer to 
Harabin.] Therefore he is obliged to wait. And 
so as you are both here don't you think you could 
manage — I won't say to entertain each other — but 
to endure each other's company for a few minutes ? 
And if there is any little natural disinclination to 
make each other's acquaintance, let me give you a 
formal introduction. [To Lady Susan.] Mr. Hara- 
bin, a gentleman whose profound attachment and 
admiration for you has been steadily growing for 
the last two years. [To Harabin.] Lady Susan 
Harabin, who I'm sure in her heart has no violent 
dislike for you. [Suddenly.'] I must go and dress 
for dinner. 

[Bolts off very hurriedly., ^^ght, leaving 
them together. The tivo stand looking at 
each other iti an embarrassed way for some 
moments. Then Lady Susan sits down, 
takes up an illustrated paper. Pause. 
Harabin sits doivn. 
Har. It's extremely cold. 


Lady S. Extremely. 

Har. There's every indication of a very hfeav)' 

Lady S. Indeed. \^Longish pause. 

Har. I have never seen you looking so remarkably 

Lady S. Indeed. 

Har. Really beautiful. I hope you don't think 
me rude in making remarks on your personal ap- 
' Lady S. [/« an hidifferent tone.'\ No. 

Har. [ With great politeness^ Wouldn't it be ad- 
visable to take off that heavy cloak while you 
remain in this hot room ? 

[Lady Susan rises and slips it off. 

Har. {^Rushing towards her.'] Allow me. [By 
the time he gets to her the cloak is off. Reproachfully.] 

You might have permitted me the honour 

[Lady Susan reseats herself with great composure, 
and turns over the newspaper. He remains standing 
over her rather embarrassed. At length bursts out.] 
Confound it, Sue, you might have a little pity on a 
poor devil ! 

Lady S. I cannot allow you to call me by my 
Christian name. If you do I shall be compelled 
to wait in another room. [Fause. 

Har. But do talk to me. 

Lady S. What is there to discuss ? 

Har. Ourselves — at least, yourself. Sue, do put 
down that paper. 


Lady S. \_Rising going towards door.'] I told you 
I should go if you called me by my Christian name. 

[Is going off right. 

Har. Let me open the door for you. 

[He goes hastily after her., she goes to 
door, tries to open it. 

Lady S. Uncle Dick has locked the door ! 

\He again comes towards her, she goes 
towards the door, left. 

Har. No, don't go. [Places her a chair with 
great politeness.] Do sit down again. [She sits.] I 
can't tell you how much I've suffered during your 

Lady S. Indeed. 

Har. And I've thoroughly determined to be the 
best of men in the future. 

Lady S. I'm sincerely glad to hear it. 

Har, You might give a fellow a little encourage- 

Lady S. Encouragement ? 

Har. To be good. No man can be good unless 
a woman encourages him. 

Lady S. And not many men even then, it seems. 

Har. I could be very good if you were to en- 
courage me a little. Sue — [Lady Susan rises.] 
Lady Sue — Lady Susan — [He offers her the chair, 
she sits down.] You have never really understood 

Lady S. No ? [Looks at him attentively. 

Har. I'm not at all a bad sort of fellow. You 


don't know how awfully sorry I am for the past. 
And I'm really devoted to you. 

Lady S. Indeed. 

Har. It's a beastly night outside. You'll only 
catch a bad cold if you go out. I say, Sue ; let's 
all have a jolly comfortable dinner together, and let 
bygones be bygones. 

[^Paiise. Lady Susan considers. 

Lady S. On both sides ? 

Har. Yes, on both sides. Of course there are no 
— no bygones on your side ? 

Lady S. Of course not. I suppose there are a 
good many on your side ? 

Har. Eh? Eh? Well 

Lady S. You seem unwilling for me to touch upon 
your bygones. 

Har. \Embarrassed paitse?\ I assure you I'm not 
a bad sort of a fellow. And I've cherished your 
image throughout. 

Lady S. Throughout a course of flirtations with 
all sorts of women ? 

Har. Oh, not a course — and not all sorts. I as- 
sure you — there's nothing for you to trouble about. 

Lady S. What do you mean by " nothing " ? 

Har. Well, well — oh, very well, let bygones be 

Lady S. \Placidly?\ Very well. 

Har. You will ? I can't tell you how delighted 
I am that you've forgiven me. 

\Is about to embrace her. 


Lady S. Stay. We are to take each other for 
better or worse, as we did when we were married, 
and the past is never to be once mentioned be- 
tween us ? 

Har. Never. You've forgiven me, haven't you ? 

Lady S. Yes. 

Har. Very well, what more is there to be said? 
[ With sudden a/arm.] Sue 

Lady S. What ? 

Har. You — you haven't — been — flirting with any- 
one in the meantime ? 

Lady S. I thought the past was not to be men- 

Har. No. But [S/iozvs great uneasiness. 

Lady S. I see, we had better remain strangers. 
I'll wait in the next room. \Going. 

Har. No, no. Sue, of course I trust you. But 
perhaps it would be best to have a thorough under- 
standing once for all. Then we shall never have 
occasion to return to the subject again. Now ! Have 
you anything to tell me ? 

Lady S. Have yau anything to tell me ? 

Har. Well — of course — [^Stops, then suddenly.^ 
Perhaps you'd better begin, as — yours will be so 
much simpler. The whole truth, mind. 

[^Listens in deadly earnest, impatiently. 

Lady S. One evening at Cairo 

Har. [Eagerly.'] Yes 

Lady 3. I'd been playing a nocturne of Chopin's 
in the dusk 


Har. In the dusk ? Where ? 
Lady S. In the drawing-room. 
Har. The pubHc drawing-room ? 
Lady S. Yes. And as I finished- 
Har. Yes 

Lady S. Signor Massetti, the musician, who was 
staying in the hotel, started up from a chair at the 
back — I didn't know he was in the room 

Har. [I^iercely.] Well 

Lady S. And — don't look so ferocious 

Har. [Maddened.] Go on ! Go on ! 

Lady S. He kissed 

Har. Kissed you ? 

Lady S. My hand. 

Har. Your hand ? 

Lady S. Yes — several times. 

Har. Did he ? Did he ? 

[Paa\^ 7!p and down the room. 

Lady S. Yes, don't be in such a temper. He's 
quite an elderly man. 

Har. So much the worse. 

Lady S. And devoted to music. 

Har. I dare say, the old blackguard ! How many 
times did he kiss your hand ? 

Lady S. Five or six. 

Har. [Tortured^ Five or six ! 

Lady S. Yes, but I'd really played very well. 

Har. The old scoundrel ! And — what did he 

Lady S. I forget exactly. 


Har. [J*ierce/y.] You forget? 
^ Lady S. He complimented me on my playing. 

Har. Yes, but — what else ? 

Lady S. Nothing. That's all. 

Har. All ? Really ? Really, really all ? 

Lady S. All, until I've heard all you have to tell 
me. [-^ong pause. He paces up atid doivn rather 
agitated^ Come. Aren't you going to begin ? 

Har. I'm so much upset about your flirtation. 

Lady S. You're not upset about your own — flir- 
tations ? 

Har. Yes, I am. I feel quite a touch of remorse 
when I remember them. 

Lady S. My dear Jim, you don't feel anything 
like so much remorse for your own transgressions 
as you do for mine. 

Har. Naturally not. \Goes to her very solemnly. '\ 
Will you give me your word, your sacred word of 
honour, that it went no further than a kiss on the 
hand with this confounded old Signor What's-his- 

Lady S. My sacred word of honour, it went no 
further than a kiss on the hand with Signor Mas- 

Har. \Looks at her, much relieved.'\ I'm glad to 
hear it. And there's nothing else ? 

Lady S. Yes, a good deal. 

Har. \BristUng up furiously. \ A good deal ! 
^Fiercely.^ Go on ! Go on ! What else is there ? 

Lady S. There's all your side. 


Har. \^ReHeved.'\ We'll finish with your side first. 
I must insist on knowing 

Lady S. You must insist ! \_La7tghs at /«>;/.] My 
dear Jim, don't be absurd. If it comes to that, I 
must insist on knowing — First of all this : when I 
was a good, faithful wife to you, why did you run 
after other women ? Secondly, how have you em- 
ployed yourself the last two years ? And thirdly, 
how you are going to make me confess what I will 
have my tongue cut out rather than I will confess 
— that is, if there were anything to confess ? 

Har. \_Tortiired.^ If there were anything to con- 
fess ! — then there isn't anything to confess? 

Lady S. I don't say that. 

[Harabin takes tzvo or three desperate turiis 
about the room in agony. 

Har. Very well. I had thoroughly determined 
to be the best husband in England for the future. Yes, 
Kirby shows in Admiral Darby a7id Lady Darby 
in door, left. [Exit Kirby. 

madam. You have lost the greatest chance of happi- 
ness that was ever offered to a woman on this earth, 
and you have wrecked my whole future. 

[Is going of. 

Admiral. [Seizes him gently.'] Shake down ! 
Shake down ! Shake down ! 

Har. Let me go. Sir Joseph [T)yi7tg to s^et off. 

Admiral. [Turns hitn round.] Shake down ! 
Shake down ! Shake down ! 

Har. I wanted to let things shake down. I've 


wanted to let them shake down for the last two 
years. But she won't let them. 

Ad:\iir.\l. Now, Sue, how is it that you won't let 
things shake down ? 

Lady S. I'm quite willing to let things shake down, 
but he won't let them. 

Admiral. Now, Jim, how is it you won't let things 
shake down ? 

Har. You can't expect me while 

Admiral. While what ? 

Har. While she won't tell me 

Admiral. What? 

Har. \Fiercely at Lady Susan.] How many 
elderly musicians kissed her hand in Cairo ! 

Admiral. Sue, how many elderly musicians kissed 
your hand in Cairo ? 

Lady S. Only one, and Mr. Harabin knows all 
about him. 

Admiral. There you are, Jim. Only one, and you 
know all about him. Now shake down. 

Har. Very well — only — [Very imeasy] — then — 
there — there was — only one? 

Lady S. \_Very cold/y.'] Will you give me my 
cloak, Uncle Jo ? Aunt Vic, we'll wait in the 

Har. No — no ! 

Lady D. [Stopping her.'] Mr. Harabin, you don't 
suppose that Lady Susan during her absence from 
you has done anything that needs to be concealed ? 
Har. Certainly not. Certainly not. But still 


\Looks very tmeasy. The lock of the door 
right is heard to turn. 

Enter Sir Richard in evening dress. 

Sir R. Sir Joseph, Lady Darby. \_Shaking hands 
with them. To Lady Susan.] Well, how do we 
stand now? 

Lady S. As we were. 

Har. Sir Richard, I wish to ask Lady Susan one 
solemn question in the presence of you all. 

Lady S. My dear Jim, I shall never answer it. 

Har. Then am I to think ? 

Lady S. Just whatever you please to think. 

[Harabin goes in great distress to Sir 

Har. Kato, one moment {Draws Sir Richard 
down stage. Admiral a7id Lady Darby expostu- 
late with Lady Susan.] Sue won't say whether she 
has anything to confess, unless I confess everything 
to her. 

Sir R. Very well. Confess everything to her. 

Har. Oh ! that's impossible, you know. 

Sir R. You don't suppose there's anything to con- 
fess on Sue's side ? 

Har. No, I feel sure there isn't. But I should 
like to know. What shall I do ? 

Sir R. Sue looks very handsome. 

Har. Exquisite ! Exquisite ! 

Sir R. I should stretch a point or two rather 


than send her out in the snow when you can have a 
cosy dinner with her here and — make it up. 

E7iter KiRBY showing in Inez i7t evening dress. 

KiRBY. \_Announcing'\ Mrs. Quesnel. 

Inez. My dear Sue, ten thousand apologies. It's 

an awful night, and I couldn't get a cab. But 

\Looks at Harabin, then looks i7iquiringly 
at Lady Susan. 
KiRBY. Shall I serve dinner, Sir Richard ? 
Sir R. Lay for six instead of four, and then serve. 

\Exit KiRBY. 

Lady S. Come, Inez. I'm quite ready. 

Har. No, don't go, Sue. Sir Richard 

\Appeali71g to Sir Richard. 

Sir R. \Goes to Lady Susan.] Sue, can't you give 
Mr. Harabin some assurance 

Lady S. I've told him that bygones shall be by- 
gones, and I will be a good faithful wife to him, if he 
will be a good faithful husband to me. He can take 
me or leave me on those terms. 

Sir R. [Looks very ear7iestly at Lady Susan for 
some mo77ients.'\ I think, Jim, your happiness will be 
quite safe in her hands. 

[Passing her over to Harabin. 

Har. I intend to be the best of husbands in the 
future. I'll give you my word 

Lady S. Your word of honour, as a gentleman ? 


Har. [Very quickly?^ Yes ! My word of honour as 
a gentleman. 

Lady D. Why didn't you forgive him at first, Sue, 
and save us all this trouble ? 

Lady S. [6'4''/^^.] I wonder why I didn't. 

Lady D. You see, dear, we poor women cannot 

Lady S. I see. 

Lady D. We must be patient. 

Inez. And forgive the wretches till they learn 

Lady S. I see. 

Lady D. And, dear, yours is a respectable aver- 
age case after all. 

Lady S. Yes, a respectable average case after all. 

Enter Kirby. 

KiRBY. Dinner is served. Sir Richard. 

\Exit Kirby. 

Sir R. Take your wife in to dinner, Jim. 

[Harabin gives his arm to Lady Susan. 

Admiral. Victoria, I have only another fort- 
night on shore. Give me the pleasure and the 
honour of taking in to dinner the best woman and 
the best wife in England ! [Lady Darby gives her 
arm to Admiral.] Ah, Victoria ! when I remem- 

Lady D. That's enough, Jo. Don't be foolish. 

Admiral. I can't help it. My conscience 


troubles me. Some day, when I can summon cou- 
rage, I will endeavour to tell you 

[^Takes her off very affectionately. 

Lady S. Uncle Dick, have you ever had a love 
affair" of your own? 

Sir R. Just one. 

Lady S. You never speak about it. 

Sir R. It's too sacred. 

Lady S. \^Sighs.'\ Ah ! one does not speak of the 
most sacred things ! \^To Harabin.] Now, sir, your 
arm, and don't forget I'm going to be a good wife to 

Har. I won't. How well you look. Sue ! I'll 
take you down Bond Street to-morrow morning and 
buy you— the whole street ! I've never loved you so 
much as I do at this moment. 

Lady S. How long will your love last ? For three 
weeks ? 

Har. For three weeks ! For life ! 

Lady S. Are you sure? Love me, Jim! I want 
to be loved ! [Exeunt Lady Susan and Harabin. 
■ Sir R. [To Inez.] Then I must take you? 

Inez. I don't see any alternative. 

Sir R. [More puzzled than ever.] What was there 
between Lucien and Sue at Cairo ? 

Inez. Horn soit qui nial y pense. 

Sir R. Yes, but that sermon was a very long 
one ! Do women ever tell the truth about their 
little love affairs ? 

Inez. Do men ? 


Sir R. No wise man ever tells. 

Inez. No wise woman ever tells. 

Sir R. I wonder 

Inez. \Vonder at nothing that you find in the 
heart of a woman, or the heart of a man. God has 
put everything there. 

Sir R. Let us leave these problems \kisses her hand 
very tenderly] and go in to dinner. 

\_Givtng his arm to her. Citrtain falls as 
they go off. 



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